Bob Dornberg © 2003
A Study in Geology
This morning I walked beside the river gathering stones
then came inside and poured coffee into an earthenware mug.
This is apropos of nothing; I went out for evidence:
the way two stones knocked together to make sparks
provides evidence of god
or at least of providence,
which is, after all, one basis for belief. All this time
she sleeps, the shade
drawn to ensure no light disturbs her. Today's sky
wears the color of stone,
just a long thin expanse of slate arcing overhead. Still,
what light there is might touch her,
a small slant of it expanding as I open the door to our room
where the piled comforter and blankets make a topographical map
detailing our world together,
and I've brought daytime, suddenly,
to its western hemisphere.
Her face like marble:
that white, striated with shadows.
This river, the glaciers left behind. Ditto the lake it flows toward.
And the rocks I've collected are imprinted with fossils
the way I might dream of a woman I loved long ago.
I once believed my heart was stone.
I wanted to snatch it from my chest and see
how many times could I skip it across a lake's thin lens
at dawn, that time when water holds
a new day's colors, all its possibilities.
Then there was a rock and a thousand circles
which became little waves
that stole sand or deposited sand on a shoreline. Thus
I understood erosion; I knew nothing yet of hurt.
Continental drift means some land masses move apart;
others, then, must be moving slowly closer
like India and Asia
which rub their bodies together like high school kids
like all lovers really. Each year
the Himalayas grow incrementally higher
so even Everest rises millimeters annually.
A Tibetan monk tried to teach me this:
in each ripple of water hides enlightenment;
and though it can scarcely be felt at all, he claimed
the mountains moved beneath his master's feet;
a spark broke out of two stones striking.
Copyright © 2003
Gery LaFemina's two 2003 poetry releases are A Garment Sewn From Night Itself (limited edition, March Street Press) and Graffiti Heart (winner of the 2001 Anthony Piccione/MAMMOTH Books Prize in Poetry); this poem is from his forthcoming book The Window Facing Winter (New Issues, 2004). His other books include 23 Below, Shattered Hours: Poems 1988-94, and Zarathustra in Love. He lives in Morgantown, WV.
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