Around 1000 C.E., Paleo-Eskimos,
the so-called Dorset People, were disappearing from Greenland. Out-tooled
and out-weaponed by more recent immigrants, perhaps they intermarried
into the dominant tribe. At the same time, even
in summer, conditions in the Arctic are harsh and unpredictable.
All life hangs by a thread, In order to survive, each living creature
must mesh together with all the others in mutual dependence. The
ecological balance is so delicate, that across
the southern Colorado Plateau and the upper Rio Grande drainage,
Anasazi civilization was reaching its height. In Chaco Canyon, along
a ten-mile stretch of Northwestern New Mexico, stones were lifted
and fitted, using mud for mortar to build eleven large pueblos, each
with up to 500 rooms, and a spectacular system of roads fanned out
from green fields of corn, beans and squash. But by 1300 C.E., snow-fed
streams were trickling, wells became vessels
of sand, and the sun's brilliant eye was grading the Old Ones
into halos of bone-dry air.
into the forest, sitting by the creek, patiently grinding stone
against stone, wearing horizons
down until when
you trace the universe back, everything went wrong about
14 billion years ago. By go wrong, I mean all the laws of physics
break down: they give infinities and meaningless results. Einstein
himself didn't interpret this as the beginning of time; he
just said, there
appeared a terrorist with an ancient gaze.
I am snug in a tent of skin
stretched over an armature of bones stuffed with muscles
and organs supplied with channels of pulsing blood... and a
mind that dreams—
unidentifiable man against a rail overlooking
a precipice, ordered him to take off his shoes and toss
them into the void, then sent him flying after them.
Which part of myself did I kill?