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No Sky

    after Robert Adams's California: Views


No sky                a gray backdrop merely and absence
and below: the scraggle of dusty fronds, the scrub oak and scrub jay
whose abrasive noises sharpen in response.

Shadows proliferate in deep furrows                no sky above
merely a scrim registering conical thrusts, a heightened flurry &
outlines of branches, the dead ones slowly petering out.

magnificent ruin       the cut through the field       blasted chaparral

As I understand my job, it is, while suggesting order, to make things appear as
much as possible to be the way they are in normal vision.

An unvoiced series of sentences, without articulation,
with gray shapes, formulating a syntax loosening and then tightening from edge
     to edge.

The frame sets a border down from which a thin straggle hangs at random &
like purposeful intrusion, and so unlike

and the interstate (in the title) missing from the photograph itself
merely a dry riverbed, the density of shadows trapped in the confusion
of bush and bush-like tree

except from higher up than the rest, its thin trunk arched against
                                                                                  no sky

colorless, less often remarked upon, appositely emotionless these days,
a relic, like the fan palm living at the edges of water.


Martha Ronk

Boston Review

Nov / Dec 2012


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