I've kneaded the poem into resting shape. It may change considerably. It may settle into itself. But it exists.
Right now the piece is eight pages long, and I've laid it out as a duet for two voices. Although some of my western Pennsylvania poems also experiment with various choral patterns, this is my first extended duet; and I've arranged the voices to alternate rather than overlap--something I may change eventually. Or I may not. For now, the alternation feels necessary, a way of delineating assumptions about known and unknown.
Anyway, here it sits, the enormous problem, new-born into a body of words.
Outside my window, the tide is retreating, and the mud flats are rising up from the seabed like scrubby cold imitations of Atlantis. A strip of sunrise clings to the horizon. Stop signs twitch in the breeze. Dogs tug on their leashes. The unseen interstate growls.
I have not seen you,
I do not know your names,
I do not know
what I am talking about.
--from Hayden Carruth, "The Birds of Vietnam"