For hours he'd been
diving for God knows what, a ballistic bursting air
each time he came up fanning for life, amateur at
what I was good at, surviving, reaching under all
of Neptune it seems.
He brought up a stone, gray,
smooth as the millennium, travel yet indelible, still
worth rubbing, he said when asked. Then, For what?
To August sun he marked it, aloft, victor's clutch,
For the Pacific, he said.
Promising to write, he left,
the stone under denim underway. And this he says:
I did the lakes, the Nations, the high grass for miles,
dry lands, Badlands, the Parks burning for weeks,
climbing into Idaho's shadows.
Now, mosquito-ravaged, money gone, tired of the weight
of it all, I have flung it into Alaska's Pacific, rubbed it
one last time for you, that Atlantic charm, drowned it
in water it knew
just ten million years ago before I
came along, Owen McReigghily, biker, Christ-bearded
my own descriptor, who pays no taxes, lives no place
but arbor, dry culvert, waddies back where mountains
I've done my passage here, freed
Nahant Atlantic's stone to taste new salt. Something
will touch it yet, burn it, shape it, clutch the warmth of
my hands where I rubbed in time,
grind it for stars not yet begun.