As a Sentence Leaves Its Breath

by Brenda Hillman

—on a mountain top   in summer

wood splitting    on a finished tree,   —

ridges     of the swirls     in    a mirrorless day,

tall ants nearby—,     twin sides of alive:  so pattern recalls

how to cling    volute,    contingent,

as the dying breath could cling,          obstinate,    to texture,

needing    more  information,  or   if the sentence,

swings on the imperfect       hearer,    risking leaving

the close days        without fear—;

as the sentence      leaves its breath,    in the warmth

no matter what:   things you said       about the things

you said,      wanting the written life,       a phrase striving

for nothing      spoken      among the rats & hawks

& spirits      on the hill,   the spiral ear      of wind,

in the space      of the circular        where sounds go,

impossible,    intense,    inner—   existence

loved more     in the common zones,     brief

stop in each,    as one man prays     not terrible prayers,

silences to each,    an act   to prefer;

so the sentence     leaves      the word,

clinging to       a group of dawns—  a swirl on wood

reaching in the air—this        unlikely thought,

to know     or stay,    to say      so long,

infinite home:— now         you must be everyone—