Barbara Claire Freeman

from #343

Someone asks her to explain
the duplicate parts, in their own way
finished, and then the tinier marks—
row after row, all the way to the conclusion.
First the wall and then the night

as if it were still ink. Additional night
from plants or stones, and starless
for thousands of hours. Vast but episodic,
the silvery image meant for you alone
its color caused by smoke
hovering in remotest distance.


What is to come but the ladder
twigs and the wish and little
drops, some rusted wire
in the field where streams
still are. At the next gate

nothing opens. Those forbidden
to stop hear a language made
from squares speak something
other than itself. Near the hill
no one recalls, this is where a latch
should be, black asterisks and


later someone says there was no animal—
they are little things from boarded-up places
now all but visible—an arm,
thumb, sacred text, a pond
splayed in every direction

as day follows day and metal bins
extend the danger sign beyond the road.


One year, then forty-eight, then
a plateau with seven pine trees
we’re told we must keep on our right,
vineyards leading to a ridge, hardly
discernible trail near boulders

becoming less and less symbolic,
visas for unknown countries, imagined
ships, real captains—
he’ll end up too far north
beneath a series of vertical planes,
stalks heavy with black grapes.


But where in all that noise
sweeping over the masts and towers
is a transmitter powerful enough to entertain
witnesses who hold their breath and hear
mostly tires on the road and cars

passing. First the noise and then
the breeze and then the shade and then
the hum. Then nothing but the
then of unrecorded voices without sound.