Dawn in Micanopy, Florida, and the old Impala
Floats the canopy roads, the last hours of acid
Stripping the protective film from the world
So every tree and fence blazes
With end-of-bandwidth jitters, my breath
A shallow tinnitus audible in the orbit
Of my limbs… I cut the radio and slow
To an idle beneath the live oaks, Spanish moss
Dripping to the roadside floor, my only god
The present moment. Then I turn off
The car lights to drift in new moon silence.
For a few seconds, a great maw encloses.
In beauty and terror, I flash the lights back on
To stay true to the road beneath the canopy,
And a white fence glows in a burst
Until I kill the beams again,
The world’s first question strobing on and off.
Thirty years later, on this moonless scotch broom hill
Above three sleeping late-Renaissance steeples,
All the little windows flicker on below
Like fireflies in the olive trees.
As the dark mountain hulks beneath the last bright shine
Of sky across the valley, the molecules
Of another air
Seem to flood this one. My ten-year-old
Stands with her binoculars and stares
Into the same alluring Tuscan spill, a silent vista
So redolent one can see how prayer erupts.
Aglow, entranced by sunset, she asks how far
To the mountains, there on the other side.
And as I answer in the explanatory lingua she loves,
A host of paternal lies rise, then resign
in my chest. For I know what she’ll come to know
Some long, road-coarse night:
We live in two places at once.
There is darkness and there is the lit-up world,
And behind both
An immeasurable quiet.