The Arctic Variations

Dear Earth,
                          I too am made of glass.

And all day I watch the glass of other bodies
             move across our campus.


             Sun descends,
             and the light of each lies down in its vessel,


the wish you were here with me
             this day, and you are


in spirit, but ever a little larger
             than my idea, ever smaller


             the details that are never small enough.
             This day


students move their eyes across the pages
of their books,


             and the beam that passes through moves
             something, someone,


             though where they move grows more uncertain
             as they read.


What I do know is this.


             Somewhere the oldest cliffs
             are coming down in sheets


             where a man on an ice floe plays piano.
             I have seen it.


             And the music filled my room
             where I am always


             a little behind the news,
             always lost


             where the music turns to water.
             Somewhere a cliff


             gives beneath the pressure
             of the sun,


             and a darkness rises from the ocean floor.
The music that you hear


             is
             the warmest year on record.
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