My father owns the dictionary
where I find the definition
of a candle just before
it is blown out.
He meets me in dreams,
his hands scattering minutes
just as he used to spread birdseed
under the big maple tree.
I wake wanting to squander
the day listening to the language
stones speak to rain.
My father looks inside
all bottles for the map
beyond the margin.
is like a car idling smoothly
in a garage with the door closed.
Consider the weight of the sun,
gravity pinching the landscape,
all our elegant music and wailing
turned into a diamond beneath our skin.
Consider the innocence of the compass,
no stake in finding a specific treasure
and yet pulled like the dog’s nose
always toward the unseen.
Consider the empire of pause.
The waver between this moment
and staggering. We are angels
made of stone or air. Or both in secret.
Our traditional mysteries are lost
in the forest of breath. We walk
always looking before us. In the end,
will we applaud the inexplicable
openness of the sea, or the strange continent
that is peeling away behind us?
Erin Hollowelllives at the end of the road in Homer, Alaska. She is published most recently in Alaska Quarterly Review, Weber Studies, Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environment, and Sugar House Review. She received an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her first collection, Pause, Traveler is forthcoming January 2013 from Boreal, an imprint of Red Hen Press.