At first I missed them, how I panged
like a roof beneath their rain,
but I no longer believe in epiphanies.
I have twenty-three while reading The Transit of Venus,
underlining each contradictory insight
the words trip off within me,
and then promise to never have one again.
I used to be such a dutiful student
of consciousness. Last night in the mirror
I found another bright gray hair
curled up from my crown, asking
how long left? who are you?
I can replicate a fragment of the old feeling
by going on a hike with an unbelievable view
planted at the end—
the closer I walk to it, my feet in the dirt,
the sun on my face, the nearer I arrive
at a realization. Anticipation tightens,
I can sense it there, the ocean & drop of cliffs
waiting, like a dog
and his joy on the other side of a door.
The way death waits, brushes my arm
throughout this allotment we call a day.
I’ve never known what to do with beauty—
as if it’s a question of ambition
& not living. As if I understood what beauty was,
as if it doesn’t constantly revise itself.
I called the view “unbelievable” but what exactly
about nature is unbelievable?
The always present sensation that I may never encounter it
again—to be so full of nature I cease
to perceive. The hand on the other side of the door,
the fingers touching my sleeve…and maybe it will be a joy
to go off into forever.
Not just for me but for nature. Relieved,
to not have to be looked at,
the way I look at myself as if I wasn’t myself.