Hard to say what I miss:
car-wheels, curves of mountain-road,
town’s glitter-dots through mist,
each yellow dot a boat nearing port,
warm arms spread to meet
the hiss of the bus-doors.
Here, lightning hits in slow mute ripples.
The birches drip tiny falling mirrors
that throw back my straggle of ponytail and perma-fried eyes
like those of a beach-resort caretaker
in a horror-film, resigned to the zombies,
still holding out for what lured him here:
‘People said that meteors really gleam here—
atom-light million-year-old tonnages,
matter clarified by heat and speed
into long, combed streams of light.’
I’ve had no post in months
and I bump downhill,
one arm loaded with firewood,
the other reaching for fogged-out trees
whose trunks are rungs
for a ladder of smoke.
Home now: flicker-lit
smoke den, corrugated tin,
on the long grooves
that melt the slope
into tongues of mud
that lick over bared tuff,
black agave, fenceposts
while a bull dozes by the lake
and rain seethes down
to shake silt from drowned lilies.
Easy to dream of wolves here—
their breath’s mist-creep
low over thistle and heather-bell,
the muffled thup of my fire
a buffeting heartbeat,
clumped grass so much wet fur,
the sweet nick of charcoal becoming
an ache for distance
that plucks deep in my chest—
until one comes loping out of the dark
through galaxies of phlox.
Tim MacGABHANN is an Irish novelist living in Mexico City. His first two novels, CALL HIM MINE and HOW TO BE NOWHERE, were published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 2019 and 2021. Other fiction, non-fiction and poetry also appears in The Stinging Fly, the Dublin Review, The Tangerine, Magma, Poetry Ireland Review, and Banshee.
‘View From Hotel Window—Butte, Montana,’ 1956
© Robert Frank;
Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York