Noah Gordon

from Landscape with Cartographer's Notebook

They came after the flowers with questions. One made of light whose wake you stepped in. One repeating take this. The trees gathered at once around us as if loss were a soil with more give than thirst. The map we were left with was of my throat, the words like a river, the stone you threw in falling. Each window now darkened. Near the edge, they said, yet meant over it. The birds turning on too early. The voices stripping like solvent. We spent half the day breathing, half trying to forget sleep. Worried whether smoke or steam carried more weight & which would freeze first. "This road leads to my sentence's end," you said. That much the map made clear: each icon, unfolding / each junction, a sleeve.






I woke up back inside myself, my skin now loosened, the nails flopping from the ends of my fingers, our torch almost out of oil. "No one believes in cobblestone anymore," you whispered, "more concern for the knees than nostalgia." How is a hook like a heart? A breath like a bone? "Every morning I touch the spines of my books," you explained, "Half, I'll never open, the ones I love most." they came later though they'd like us to believe different. Convinced a shovel strapped to your back was all you'd need to find the next entry point, you tore the pages as you read, tossed them into the fire. I was cold & thirsty.