from Vermont


Be loud, the hiking guide says, to warn the bears away.
Don’t wear perfume, make sure you’re not bleeding. 
Don’t hike when you’re bleeding. Ben says something 
about women & tents. I don’t care anymore. 
We hike six miles, free of blood. I worry about the ticks. 
I worry about everything pre-breakdown. 
I photograph the mountains from atop the neighborhood 
where summer’s abandoned ski condos spread out 
like angular hawk’s wings across the mountainside. 
All’s silent but a brook, the crows, the two baby
foxes. The condo complexes are named Algonquian, 
Iroquois, Arapaho—an appropriation that lacks 
even regional specificity. Back at the house, Ben tells me 
it was the patrilineal Algonquians 
who kept their women in bleeding tents.
I think about revision, about being revised.


It’s been three days since I could say anything; 
now ginger, now market. A knife sharpening, 
loud music, the anticipation 
of cracked eggs—spelling them out 
is central to great evocation; 
fearful of fierce alienations, I’ve been bucked & gallop 
down the ski slope. Ticks dance in my underwear;
I wash one away in the shower. How difficult to un–
street patterns of minutia. Out here in the woods, 
there’s nothing—not really—to worry on, 
yet I count mint leaves obsessively, I tire the spiders 
with my watching, I spread my legs 
to check for more ticks, everything is danger.


Zoom in, pan out, like breath—
trees will have your lungs
trees in threes equal deciduous 
longing. I’ve sold or given away
most of my belongings. But the heart’s 
a fucking lockbox & 
won’t let loose every tangle, 
every topography. Ben across the table 
writes a story longhand, shirtless. 
He stares out the window.
10,000 words before breakfast. 
He asks for another word 
for sleep—I think of a white-haired man 
slack-toothed, snoring. 
Another word for sleep, you dolt, is death.
But I don’t say it. Such a lovely, 
hot day on the mountainside, 
a baby deer on morning’s walk. 
No death on our doorstep, everything 
alive, everything living.