blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Snow Goggles: Whalebone and Sinew

Horizontal strapped to my brow as if
I’m a zeppelin in need of steadying, in need
of a false horizon to quell my vertigo. 

This pair I’ve carved from the jawbone
of a whale —I don’t know what kind— 
picked up on a beach of old slaughter.

I chipped and carved the bone, I dug
a narrow trench for light to wash through,
thin flood instead of deluge. 
Without them:

                                  Mirage     mirage    
               glare unshadowed
           and where the earth’s edge flatlines
                      mountains of drift in suspension    

Last week, sledging, I took them off
and the liquid in my eyes went solid—
I could not close my lids. Stumbledrunk

over floes and chasms, as if darkness
and not light surrounded me.
For several minutes there was no respite
from looking, nothing
to narrow the terrible scape.  

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