What I Needed to Say to Texas

Andrew Koch


You are dying a million times
slower than the rest of us,
but you are still dying
as we are dying,

and you live
as we are living,
the smallest parts of you
eating darkness beneath the earth,
brewing all the irrepressible
color of the future.

So when I settle in you awhile
and ask you to be still,
maybe you will understand
that the smallest part of me
pushes the world out in front of her
and we dare not breathe
as she passes.

Whatever portion
of your abundant sunshine
you have accorded me
let it pass
to this one,
tender animal that grew
in red darkness.
Of the warmths she will know
her mother's will be first,
but yours might be second.

I need your broad trenches
in the lightest colors,
in maps and rhyme,
in delicate glass.

All of my thoughts on living
float uneasily on the surface
of all my thoughts on dying.

If I asked you your name,
would you know where to start,
how far back to go?
How much Texas
has already been carried off
on the wind
or broken quietly apart
and re-formed
with the patience of stars
in hidden chambers underground?

I know all the names of Earth
slough off like snakeskin,
but my mouth is full of them,
these alphabets
tilting behind my teeth.

How do you name a god,
a planet dancing its tonnage
into your orbit?

Of all the great sufferings of scripture,
Adam and the naming
of the endless beasts
must be the greatest
and most beautiful.

Listen—we share the same star-song
of erosion, little supernovas
the size of centuries
fizzling in our gut,
the same transmission
of blood-code.

I will ask you to be still.
I will hold dust in my hands
and tell it to be good.