EDWARD BYRNE

 
 
FAULT LINE: 
A FAREWELL IN FIVE FRAGMENTS 

        Until we were what we must have wanted to be: 
                 shapes the shapelessness was taking back. 
                        —Jorie Graham, "What the End Is For"


        I 

All afternoon, in silence, we have been following 
        another hidden edge of earth, an ancient 

break in terrain where tremors once rumbled 
        underground; but this morning the quiet 

we had sought was broken only by songs 
        of sparrows or the rare call of a cardinal. 


        II 

Earlier, opposite one another, a dark pair 
        of harrier hawks hovered above us; 

then they banked and whirled in an increasing 
        swirl of air, exchanging place with every 

turn, each concentric and quickening ring 
        merely a replica of the circle drawn before. 


        III 

In the valley, long arms of a willow wrestled 
        with this lifting wind and an overhanging 

branch still heavy with leaves moved in a perpetual 
        stir of stream water; soon, we saw a whole 

slope of quaking aspen, their heart-shaped leaves 
        going gold under the slant of autumn sun. 


        IV 

Although we know this fault line is nothing more 
        than a simple split in the geologic plate, 

it seems endless as it tracks across that great sprawl 
        of nature before us÷one length of landscape 

pulled apart and reassembled, raised and wrinkled 
        like the gathered pleat on a large garment. 


        V 

Here, where thunder once rose with those hazel 
        hills now entering this changing sky 

before us, gray and weighted by rain, we listen 
        to the shrill, distant whistling of a freight train; 

we await the approaching storm, still wishing 
        we could hear that softer caroling of sparrows.
 
 

[ First appeared in Quarterly West


 

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