Stephen Lefebure (M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is a systems programmer for USWest Communications. His poetry has appeared in Wilderness, The Literary Review, Plains Poetry Journal, and others.
Two rivers merge within a great expanse
Where all the never-known that never knew us
Hunkers like an outlaw in one place,
Where all the never-left that never left us
Staggers through blind alleys in a daze,
Where all the never-loved that never loved us
Scoops out of some streaming stars a face,
And where the never-born who never bore us
Make out of their memories a maze.
Tall pictographs appear to dance
Legless, armless, flame-like, thus,
With all we never dreamed that never dreamt us.
We lost our way back long ago.
If we cry out, our call will go
On so long we will not know
When we have outwaited its echo.
How much of the Earth is hollow?
Our flashlights shed a meager glow
On passageways we hurry through,
And when we turn them off, it's so
Dark our pulses quickly slow.
After long rests we renew
Movement, and our lanterns show
Giant rooms and halls that narrow.
There are times we need the spoken
Word to carry what we know.
We follow paths that are so broken
We aren't sure which way to go.
Now and then we face a canyon
Wall and find we must retrace
The obstacles since we came in
Or travel up the precipice.
But we do not ask questions from
The world, concerning where we are
Or whether we by now have come
Far enough, if not too far.
When it was late you chose
A road that led you to these rows
Of rock where almost nothing grows.
Here only the shadows grew
And each of them clung only to
The one formation that it knew
Straight out of a dream arose.
Now as the last of daylight goes
Only a slender column flows
Down from the massive slab that threw
A shadow even longer than those
You brought and that cling to you.
After awhile you come to the clearing.
Now at last you can see everything.
This is where your steps were leading.
There seems to be more space in the world
As if it had forever been held
Smaller than it would have willed.
Here you can rest and build a fire
And watch as it grows gradually higher,
Or is it the Earth that falls from under?
Then later you hear the cry of some
Animal as a kind of welcome,
And homelessness is for you a home.
These meadows we keep stopping at,
These granite gullies where no one goes,
These limestone cliffs and ledges that
Some have climbed with routes they chose,
These ancient trails the rain erodes,
These caves extending slowly in
The dark, these bumpy mountain roads,
These storms that suddenly begin
And end, these branches bearing loads,
And all these waterfalls that freeze
Solid, as if they arose
Look for me among all those.
If someone had to speak, but knew
No speech or music could express
Their thought, being devoid of sound—
Yet if they managed to pursue
Its course, through some bizarre excess
Of effort, until its profound
Content rose up in a space
Where the sky is like a drum
Like teeth from an enormous comb—
Their sculptures might be like this place
Where the western wind has come
Empty, as if coming home.