Crag Hill



from "Compass"

Compass 31

Though window allows transmission, it also cuts it off. What is the grain of braindrain? An aisle, a current, a potential impasse. Behind him, his present whenever he wants it.

Compass 32

American flag bandana wrapped on his head, swastika shooting flames tattooed on his right arm. Flag's limp, but what does it stand for? Lake curves, dumping sand, families of swimmers. Once sun sets I know where I am.

Compass 33

Can you believe the business that brings you "this earth-friendly bag"? Sight lines of cabinets lead to chaos of pans in sink. It's a Ben Shahn print, yet it reminds him of Paul Klee, mute primary colors, spare shapes solidifying the visual plane. For the first time in days, smoke's gone, sky's blue.

Compass 34

The pillar, a pill, a push. Behind him, somewhere between the actual and authorial audiences. At those desks you lock up your books, keeping words to yourself, if you can. Madness in American; Masters of Bedlam; Constructing (In) Competence.

Compass 35

Bank of clouds, rain spent hours ago. Unlikely place for a battleship anchor, hundreds of miles from a military port. She went into the bathroom followed by his fantasy. Symphony of crows, clicks of grasshopper, silent traffic on distant highway.

Compass 36

One piece lifts its way out of the puzzle, nudging another along. Town's lights in print, so thin along the tops of hills, push back at the night sky pressing down. No power, nothing to receive. A window's deceiving.

Compass 37

Clear again, at least in sky. Fake grain, fake flames, fake nipple. The people in his peripheral vision are androgynous. Unoccupied cubicles, but can you say that about the minds?

Compass 38

Steps and stones where no one walks. If it's the wave of the future, it's petrified. One row of shelved periodicals, more texts than he will read in his life. He doesn't want to turn around to see, doesn't want to be seen turning around.

Compass 39

Sailboats get the preferred berths, pontoon boats clinging to docks close to shore. Geese pattern sand. Two women question each other, probe, starting with the age of their children, then their husband's jobs. These waves, pushed to shore by a speedboat, roll through smaller waves.

Compass 40

She plays water splash with her toddler until he splatters her body with sand. Through forest-fire haze, a distant peak, a place he can't get to to know. Boat anchored, she sunbathes on her stomach across the stern, right leg bent in the air. Cars predominantly from Idaho, but a couple from Washington, one each from Oregon and California.