All tongues are one in the mapping fantasies
of a boy at a winter table bolstered by pickles
and bacon and tea with sprigs of mint.

Pencils sharpened by a knife,
unoccupied, a boy gets solemn
to make up word beings, white gold
of sun and moon pulverized
on construction paper formulated days
at grandma’s table. He draws
the fog of real wilderness:
it should only be breached by bare feet
on a forest floor in a meadow's fork of wood smoke.

You must find a way in snowy mist,
lost in coves near Tennessee
in a settlement of no groceries or comfort
where hunters pass in trucks on rutted roads,
where dirt drops into nothingness,
blasted swing sets and Christmas decorations,
televisions in an icy queue. For a boy

topography can bridge a lexicon,
a double-seeing through peaks
as mountains speak curling letters on a page
through a skein of old world branches,
tapestries of sulfur, gasoline cans
and books in the brush.
Dialect is the jewel of location
and whittles alchemical barn doors,
tales of gold veins on the farm.

The boy weaves shackles of stars
into monstrous light, graphite
spilling a sky like a blotted cave,
his quill shading a logging road
in a spiral across mountain spines.
An alphabet of ridges, hawk signs
are framed by rotted billboards,
a hen’s egg nestled gently in a field.
He might stumble on the tip
of an imaginary stone.
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