THIS IS CRAZY
dot/dashed into mantra
the abandoned telegraph way, sand for decades
claiming the first station
that ghosted code and voice, lost urgencies in that
drift between States, States of Being like
South Australia, Western Australia, dreaded
Nullarbor Plain threading one to the other near
the bluest bight, our plan to wander–
And risk water and life out there? They said no,
do not, do not…
Of course, cautions went legend: few decent wells,
scarce gasoline in the Outback, no fully
sealed roads, UFOs hovering in wait, thieving
would-be murderers in dust and low growth
Oh yes, we were warned at suppers and carparks,
in hallways, on trails, even my drawing group
spoke up, sweetest art center in Belconnen
where we worried our parking out front illegal.
But this new word to me: tablelands in Canberra
meant: stay. All those warnings = stay with us.
Land as table, as if you could sit down forever,
pure evening solace of
plate, a cup warm or cool to the brim is how
I first loved that word before
knowing what, if anything, of altitude.
No one says down under there.
Marianne Boruch’s ten books of poetry include The Anti-Grief (Copper Canyon, 2019), her prose–three essay collections, most recently The Little Death of Self (Michigan, 2017), and a memoir about hitchhiking in the early ’70s, The Glimpse Traveler (Indiana, 2011). Among her honors are a Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award and fellowships/residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center and two national parks (Denali and Isle Royale). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Field, American Poetry Review, POETRY, The New England Review, Field, the New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Kenyon Review, Volt and elsewhere. On a 2019 Senior Research Fulbright in Australia, she observed that country’s astonishing wildlife to write Dark Bestiary, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press this October. Going rogue and emeritus in 2018 from Purdue University, Boruch continues to teach in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.