H.L. Hix

September 18, 2012

All This Wintering

Frame, sheetrock, insulate, rewire: we hired done
what I can’t do, which is all of it, to transform
into a study a garage that was first a barn,
with a horse window that still opens, with walls that,
in hush enough, still whisper what I hear as the shush
of oats and the swish of hay, though who could be sure.
There was a time before cars, and a time
when who could afford them.  I feel myself accountable
to keep pure just what reveals that nothing ever was pure:
a profound awareness of infrastructure.

What I perceive as frenzy I know
is the most intricate and complicated order.
But what did knowing ever show me that helped?
Wild horses not far from here still stir clouds of grit
when they gallop in loops through the definition
of windswept.  I want to ride the unridden,
but if ever I had the strength to, I have it no more,
and my life proves I never had the courage.
Maybe to others it is, but to me it was not, given
to be aware of both the construct and what is hidden

from the construct.  Measure twice, cut once.
I don’t cut much, so I’ve tried to apply
to things I do more often advice that sounds good.
Think twice, speak once.  Listen twice, speak once.
Read twice, write once.  Not that I succeed.  But that barn —
before dawn to hear things that rustle quietly:
mice racing their fear across the hay, the cow’s tail
protesting.  Sit.  Listen, list.  Hide within the construct.
But everything returns to winter here in Laramie.
Only when the snow kept falling did I see

my walking speed enforced by a held candle,
know how much more satisfying snow is than sunlight,
hear the half-registered sibilance that kept me from sleep.
Sleep twice, dream once.  I would ask to dream more often,
but the frenzy frightens me, and feels beyond order.
Is frenzy what separates order from ordering?
Or what takes so much space it shoves them together?
I was getting better at the forgetting we call
dreamless sleep, but with all this wintering
I became an insomniac, remembering.

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