[2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize finalist]
from The Driftless Is Literal
Mostly, when the locals talked, their gossip was a type of prayer. Mostly to their patron saint of the snow bank, of have-not & want-less. Mostly, measurement was the problem. Always too much or never enough—mostly humility & when it wasn’t, precipitation. Mostly I struggled with attention. Mostly, I hurled bricks, but I didn’t wake any less anxious. If anything, the ache burrowed deeper. If I believed in prayer, I’d have prayed for grace & for birdsong. I realized that I’d had it backwards all this time: the weather reports us. Mostly, when I talked, it was to myself. Who is the patron saint of the bell & who of its silence? Who is the patron saint of the song tangled in these sheets? Saint of the flood plain. Saint of the cell tower. Saint of the long haul. Saint of static, take it. You can have it all.