The river’s too high, it brings no calm. It moves with the force of a mob squeezed down the streets, knows not where it goes just that it must, turns from brown to gray, slaps the sides, moves with the grace of snakes.
Back on the autobahn in the morning still dark it’s a video game of lights before coffee and the navigator warns of ice, blinks with its blood red eye, speaks in its sexless tones. And what would the American Indians think of us, the savages, would they wave their sticks at the screens and call us demons, in the hides of the beasts they’ve slain, their spirits?
With all the time we’ve bought back now how to use it, to write thank you letters and poetry, read paperbacks, play vinyl. Open the pod bay doors Hal, brush the needle, make the crackle stop.
But the river moves with the force of something that’s been released and can’t be put back. I climb the stone ladder through the vineyards to the woods where I catch a deer, then two, and they climb above me beyond the engines and the blades cutting down trees, stacked on the hillsides drying, opening the land like a book, cutting along the seams.
I take a side road to write, the snow’s Morse code as it melts, the stone’s lichen brows, a quiet place to be.
And along the autobahn the pale, frost covered fields and valleys come into view, the miles fall away, the road narrows down like a river through the choke points, the A81 to the A5, the A6 — cars move like game pieces, like avatars — and in the dark of the morning and the nights when there’s nothing to think about I sift through the scenes of where we’ve been and it blurs, and I wonder if I’m empty inside or full, how we measure such things, and how we know.