Notes for a Life. In a Swing. No Wind to Speak of.

by Sam Rasnake

               — Sally Mann, Untitled (Deep South #23), 1998


The field is the mouth of the dead.

Starlings drift the summer's late amber

as though a photograph's gelatin silver


has come to life, and you breathe in,

you breathe out — that other world.

Your lungs are sadness, full-measured.


A faultless tension.  The scarred tree's

gift is silence.  At the edge of hearing,

the slow river's story — all moss and


bush — slips its bridge between darkness

and darkness — while the sky, always

the patient doppelgänger, sits on water.


Whole forests & towns & time swallowed

in ivy.  One trickle of sweat beside the ear.

Somewhere a banjo, somewhere a hound.