SPLINTER & TANGLE
the Very Large Array
branch must earn its supplication,
heaving heart of the stotting
pronghorn, reticular eyes and cooling
skin of a stopped car that resolves regret
into the widest possible topography.
Dark spots eat movies spooled in a garage.
We need a simple thesis :
Everything happens. Every quirky swerve
its own universe, useless quantum churn,
unreconciled, irretrievable, feckless.
Always and already there is only this
fossil light to our practical seconds : here,
the Fourier transform of high desert
plain, landscape of Pleistocene lake bed,
where concave fetch plots the Y-shaped
interferometer to find faintness
in gain, 28 competent pylons :
strutted 100-ton primroses, white metal,
as from Severini. Sage and greasewood,
this low-hilled valley with its windy
raven gauging helix dust
from the lip of a radio telescope
big enough to set your house in
–your unsteady reflector,
short-wave static after bedtime,
boyhood’s failed collimation.
You can’t graph the tossing palms
in a father’s film of Florida, strange
bright birds perched on her newlywed arms.
Diffraction grating brought from his lab
you held to the contents of every room, spirals
never figured. Tornados came and went. Lost
drawings of a dome. Cassettes of Skylab’s launch.
Cusped, standing here. March gusts high and low,
receivers chilled to lure a deeper freeze
into a map, cold iris in the background
a billion light-years wide without star or galaxy :
the Eridanus Supervoid is a blink
that never ends, a river whose debris
batters every bridge to fall. Whose hesitation
to set down a glass, to lift that chin
made this chained gate to a backyard
in which poets mistake lines of houses for drifts of snow?
In which the molester’s comb proves its vivid accusation?
Or, in the chaos of scab lands, where a word
renews traverse, abandoning travois and spear,
the children are swept singing into falls?
Or this one : in which the little son,
our hero, neither drools nor limps, and the eye patch
comes off as he walks for days the sparkly median
from summer vacation’s laundry. Sister doesn’t marry.
Father stays thin beside the trailer and mother smiles,
carrying her bevy of parrots to the door of a glove factory.
Build your starship.
You’ll never get there, where sky stays twister-green
and low, blistered clouds lending their premonitions.
The correlator takes what it can.
Tumbleweed bunches by the door
to a foyer soda machine and photos from "Contact."
At dusk, the operator downloads new
coordinates : horned lark : its little
signal : 4-wing salt bush : they hum
like drowsy bees, the dishes turning
to our golden north, slewing
suddenly as one, pointing higher in the sky.
Another new creation readies its myth
and plans a sprawling connotation.