On a Morn­ing When Our Weather Is Sixty De­grees Dif­fer­ent El­egy for the Sext

The Iowa Review - - CONTENTS - Corey Van Land­ing­ham

it’s like a stranger is stand­ing be­tween us. In California the drought has bro­ken and, where you are, first snow. All of a sud­den it’s the fu­ture to a past that was, to us, once kind. I imag­ine the stranger look­ing down from a satel­lite, the line he could draw con­nect­ing us, bright dots on a dis­tant map on a planet that, out there, held at a cer­tain length, still im­presses. I mean all those first words from the moon. I mean when we first found the writ­ten word and could al­ter what we had said. I said, No one is you, but pop­u­lar sci­ence tells me that, in other di­men­sions, that isn’t quite the truth. On pa­per, I’ll get it right some­day. “It’s dif­fi­cult,” wrote Cat­ul­lus, “to break with long love sud­denly. But this you must some­how do.” I try to like you best re­moved. Above all this, per­spec­tive like that of an in­ter­ested god, would the weather satel­lite turn the win­ter storm to peace­ful swirl sent to your tele­vi­sion set. Across the screen, would the world shift a lit­tle. “O Gods, if you can pity or have ever brought help at last to any on the point of death . . .” Sweet Cat­ul­lus. To liken love and death. Our great mis­take. When we saw our lan­guage carved in stone, we fell in love with it a lit­tle and hoped our­selves, too, per­ma­nent things.

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