The Barest Handhold

I don’t even know what I know
much less what I don’t know

A Chinese laundry full of coats and shirts
knows more than I know

Boats at sea heading toward a faint light in fog
have a better idea than I do
and get there with more grit and determination

The night seems to have fallen onto the
earth like black velvet yardage
fold after fold thicker than the sea-bottom
where fangs with fins pass at the
slightest incandescence with jaws agape

Heartbeat after heartbeat taps it out
as if with the barest handhold on a sheer
side of rock with the

whole world falling away below us

Only God can help us in such a state

His Prophet the wooly sherpa up ahead
face into the blizzard peace be upon him

and the canyon’s echoes ringing with his name

5/19/2007 (from Invention of the Wheel)

Categories: Poems