ADAM DICKINSON

BEFORE WE LEARNED TO LIVE IN ONE PLACE

When skiers pass in diagonal stride,
they are skeptical crosses in the trees,
an alphabetic motion
that speaks interrogatives:
Is this the spot?  Is this?
Their bodies mark ballots
for the sovereignty of glide.

Before we learned to live in one place
we expected much of motion.
If touched correctly,
a thicket would release its slowest rabbit,
or a meadow its tangled deer.
For this we searched the country
divining the nourishment of soft meat
in the bulwark of crossing the land.

The skier can't expect to know more
than one foot in front of the other;
it is feeling for the edge of the stairs
in the dark, the resolve
that all bets are off, that the railways
we leave are splintered.
If skiing is hunting and gathering
it is only because you ask
how to spring your own flight -
a discipline of wings, a form of planting.


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