“fog country” (poem)

Compost '92 

An original poem published in Issue 8/Winter 1996-1997 of compost, a Boston-area arts/literary journal begun in the early 1990s and folding after 12 years. Weirdly fitting, given the subject of this poem …

fog country

We are not within fog country
I explained to heavy air, out of sight
of my own arm, the thickish light so dense
with possibility. It moved,
like a damp hand
pressing to my face, plucking free
hairs of winter,
combing warmth within its place.

You must go away, I said.
They will not allow you here. Roll back
to shore or mountains, meadows
ripening with dark,
swollen shapes from ages past, imagined,
curves that stretch the eye.
This is flat land, sand and bone,
tobacco grown, and dry;
lives shoot up like asphalt weeds,
fast and wrong, they bake
and die. Not a world for mists, nor
hulking forms, serpentine, or shadow,
rings of fungus, stone designs, unmanned
boats or distant lights. This is a place
of stoppage, peopled barely
by remains, clusters of abandon, trails
of fossil drip, impatient salt and stains.

Unasked, the fog reached in
to my ears, the tiny bones, rustled,
whispered to me, mystery:
fields as deep, as wide as oceans,
formed of land bled into sky, new wounds,
thundering with hooves, deer,
their faces shaped like men,
eyes but starshine glints, and winking,
winking.

– FW Rabey

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