The White Mountains

Animal cities crowded to deep time
fointing and unsheeting out of the sea,
flowers of the sea whose petals changed
to mica where they fell.

Nothing contracted from softness is alive
but moves towards a region we can`t reach –

That scarp, down
from Sierra ice
in setting light on Nevada.
Our camp in the Whiye Mountains.
The road from the valley winding
out to some high empty place.

I watch the moon`s half-hub increase its shine
from fading cones of snow.
Out of this world it`s daylight,
the stars grow.

Three hundred miles from the Humbolt River
whose trail dried into salt,
trees are still the oldest things that live,
twisted to the rock with iron threads.

Shone out on the dark my flashbeam ends.

The children wriggle and dream in their blue tent.

That eyes ever opened is an occurrence,
no more than an accident of occurrence.

The mountains are ridged like cone bristles opening
in the sun. It`s still early. The seam
of our air is blue-layered, soft
fine-grained rock for miles, untreacherous,
a breathable piece of time. Our shoe-prints
are loose-scuffed in the gravel,
not yet squeezed to marble.

Heat on bark flecks
In my eyes

the granite unfinished. In a million years all
daylight is the same, landslides of light,
ice from dislodged clouds.

Today we`ll see what the sun does south of here –
the road, the minutes contracting in seams
behind us, tpo memory, each various

second fused to sulphur, to creosote,
to distances without shade.

from Half Moon Bay