By Frederick Pollack

Art By Dan Williams


Cold, remote hermitage.
Nature reduced to threat
and, in the person of sea wrack
and shorebirds, metaphor.
Beneath his lamp at noon,
he imagines entertainments
in cities to the south –
beer; vast sweating dances –
and neither envies nor condemns
despite the pains that are
the importunity of nature;
when he can straighten his hand,
he writes to erase them.
He erases Vikings and other
tyrants and raiders,
all thieves; envisions, annuls bombers.
(His quill is easily sharpened, still;
his hard-pressed ink has the iodine smell
of the sea.) With forgivable impatience
he imagines what we would call
the delete tab, and erases that.
To grasp the irrelevance
and falsity and encompass
the destruction of time is, he thinks –
now more than ever – essential.