All the salt in the world comes from the sea.
That’s why we tunnel under the Great Lakes,
To chip away a seabed that now flakes
Beneath hydraulic steel machinery.
That’s why our salty tears eternally
Burn our clenched eyes. Or why the body aches,
With each step, with each breath, and trembles and shakes,
As we sweat the salt inside us. So we,
You and me, built, as far from shores, a home
Where rivers run backwards when the earthquakes,
As if time reversed by divine decree.
What we took as ground was nothing but foam
That dissolved beneath our feet. The sea takes.
The sea gives. All that was will always be.
Like a foolish man
The town of Kingdom stands on sinking land.
A web of railroad tracks holds things in place:
The steel works, diner, drive-in, Saving Grace
Reformed Baptist Church, itself raised on sand
Of an oxbow lake. As a boy, I’d stand
On top the banks of railroad tracks and brace
Against the train that even shook the space
Between the sharp wheels and my outstretched hand.
The earth swayed. I could taste it on my breath,
The risk, the taunting of a seeming stable
World. It was as if the train were a knife
That cut the thread that bound me, so unable
I was, I am, to accept foregone death,
Inevitable fragility of life.
The skipping of stones
Depends on the choosing
Cradled in thumb and forefinger
(it’s more the flick of the wrist
Than the whip of the arm),
Only to watch in amazement
Sink beneath rippled water,
Amazement our wooden efforts
Could not crack petrified laws of nature,
Could not make stone walk upon water.