The Present

by Jim Harrison

Read by Emma Rye

The cost of flight is landing.
On this warm winter day in the southwest,
down here on the edge of the border I want
to go to France where we all came from
where the Occident was born near the ancient
caves near Lascaux. At home I’m only
sitting on the lip of this black hole, a well
that descends to the center of the earth.
With a big telescope aimed straight down
I see a red dot of fire and hear the beast howling.
My back is suppurating with disease,
the heart lurches left and right,
the brain sings its ditties.
Everywhere blank white movies wait to be seen.
The skylark dove within inches of the rocks
before it stopped and rose again.
God’s toes are buried deep in the earth.
He’s ready to run. But where?