All of it. The hypnosis of the tupelos, possumhaw,
and willows. The skin of night stretching taut
like a drum. The view from the back porch where
I am sitting, the world lying still. The dull quietness
of winter—the air sharp inside your lungs.
The February winds flattening the brown grass
near where the horses by the fence don’t move.
Where earlier a fox ventured past to drink from
the shallows of the lake. Steeping itself like a rich
tea. Or the evening my father’s barn burned down
until all that was left was its skeleton. The bones
porous and brittle. How he squatted in our field,
the light leaking out of the hours. Or a pileated
woodpecker that detaches itself from a sweetgum trunk
and carries on its beak and feathers the bitter-
tasting resin. Or the dreamy state like a small brown snake
I found once curled like a forgotten prayer before
my mother’s grave. Every unknown creature our original
body. Or remembering rising as a boy in the black
start of day. Morning light breathing so small
you almost suffocated. To be clothed in its mist. And yet
the hours before dawn like a small hymn, the first
hosannas after sleep. To listen to the frogs in the lake
beyond the field and trees. Sounding like spirits
moaning or chanting—it never mattered which.
Like frogs in the Bible pouring out of streams
and rivers everywhere to overrun Egypt.