Along the Road to Boston
Even in this drabbed-out winter landscape a spare, scoured elver-gleam and dazzle still stands out. You can see it in the excitations of a scatterflock of starlings—a crowd becoming the one risen body of a woven net as they close and open and light again on ground they’re gleaning the last spilled seeds from. You can see this same late glaze of the possible even in the dour Franciscan-brown last leaves hanging; see in the sheer tenacity of their attachment a wind-shriven liveliness, the sort of head-in-hands lightening the spirit might feel in the old dispensation after a cleansing confession: bloodless and bony, they’re still matter, and matter still, alive as any last-ditch detail in the big picture. What Cezanne made of those cold winter remnants of his, the stone wall and stark verticals of his homegrown grove of trees through whose bony bars he took in again the mountain. As you might register in the rearview mirror the sun’s flattened soft-pat of nuclear blaze-butter melting into moontime, or the brazen body of a small pond snapping at daylight, or that set of purple antlers the leafless sumac is, pointing its taut seed-packs at your passing.