Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Deep Context Ekphrastic

William Clark Dreams of the Souls Who Will Travel to Unknown Country

A white hole opens in the map’s very center,
hole burned by a magnifying lens,
hole worn through by folding, unfolding,
hole that began as a tiny puncture from a compass leg.

At night, he envisions the men returning to find
their camp fallen into the white hole,
a few hundred yards of oiled cloth caught on one side,
half sewn into tents before the world opened up
with a seering light so clean it burst through the riverbank.

He sees Joe Whitehouse diving into the crevice
one hand on a roll of tobacco,
one hand tangled in his flannel shirt.

He sees Merriwether with a whetstone around his neck,
one hand holding a sextant,
one hand making the sign of the cross.

He sees himself stopping the returning men by the edge,
one hand holding up the map,
the other pointing to the hole in the middle.

He always wakes before he can tell them: how it will split open wider,
and wider, maps needing, as they do, to be opened again and again.

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