According to the old religion, a scribe
must bathe in natural running water
before she draws what is dictated to her,
because writing's just like cleaning a mirror,
she says, it's like rearranging stains
left on wholesome rivers. For three nights,
I drew geometric shapes in the margins;
I had been instructed to take notes on
the underside of snow, and how it colonized
the lithosphere, musically and without hurt.
It felt like a call, but it wasn't a calling.
The paper was made in Himalayan foothills
by a woman who had cleansed knots from fibrous bark
and dipped her bleached hands into boiling water.
I mangled the page into a cottage, then a castle;
for I imagine that the grime of Dublin
could fold me up into my questions. But to give
creative attention is always an act of love,
and the most sincere. You have always known that
only at the fringes of the intellect
can love become voice. So may
it all be fringes and love
its nonexistence, but not yet, not yet.