From Luristan to Thule
By Sarah Lindsay
Delirium was the last country she saw clearly.
Mounting its exotic, riven flanks
on the back of a patient fever,
she left with regret the land of her hosts--
divisions of snow, upended stone threaded with tracks
between the goatskin houses with goatskin beds--
then left too the regret.
For decades she'd taken pleasure in imposing
the first white profile (with its great spinster nose)
upon such places, barely named,
as lay a few days' journey beyond fable,
uplands that bore no showy gold or ziggurat,
only the shallow marks of laboring generations,
the central campfires repeated deep in their eyes.
Past rocks tipped early out of the cradle of myth,
she finally became separated from her pack
with its twenty pencils, the notorious hat,
coins and aspirin, equally useless,
and yielded to discovery of one state
that lacks the primary luxuries: return,
and the safely delivered story.