Charles Freeland

Carving Heads Out of Boulders

What we saw there was so much less than what we had been expecting. A few copper coins. A ribbon tied to a safety pin and unraveling at the edges. Maybe someone had packed it away when the conflict in Korea got its start. But then forgot about it just as quickly as he forgot exactly where Korea was on the map. How you could differentiate it from Iceland, say. Or those islands where people are forever carving heads out of boulders and lining them all up in a row. And perhaps it's premature on our part to start demanding explanations of such things along the borders of the map. Where whoever is responsible for putting them together is expected to do more than just leave things blank. There are columns to be filled with numbers. And abstract patterns holding out against the emptiness of the night. And the cold. And the sound of the coyotes moving about in the underbrush as if they expect to find there something of interest. A discarded sandwich. Or an infant who is not just any infant, but one of those fabled creatures like Krishna who take the whole world on their shoulders. And move it occasionally — shake it so that our saucepans tumble from their cupboards — all so as to keep the meteorites from splitting it down the middle.