what tall boats sailed under
snow on these dry-blue beds
crushed by the weight of
heavy moons and black ground
how many layers of bones
lie below the lake, no
longer shaded by trees
of a hundred rings.
the workers meant to catalogue
tools, utensils, sled runners
digging up artifacts concealed as old comforts:
old jewelry, weathered pots, hair combs
a pentagram engraved in stone
made sense of things, each point
on the star given meaning for
the purpose of solace, consolation.
still nothing changes
even elders like us don’t anticipate
clearing that last hill
or waiting for the lake
0 thoughts on “Make Room”
This is perhaps my favorite of yoru poems to date. I can't say exactly why, of course, but the sense of movement beneath the surface, the almost-tangible presence of those forces that shape our lives, is strong.
"Artifacts disguised as old comforts" is such a perfect image. It's just ambiguous enough to stop me in my tracks, as the expected phrase would be, "Comforts disguised as old artifacts". Turning the world on its head, or stopping it in its tracks – that's poetry at its best.
The kickstarter for this poem was a quote by Adrienne Rich who said: Nothing changes. The bones of the mammoth are still in the earth." That got me thinking about how we scour the earth for artifacts in an attempt to learn about people who came before us. Out at our cabin on the Copper River, I've dug up old wine jugs, plates, and a skillet. Very interesting finds.