after The Lightning Field, by Walter de Maria (New Mexico) 1977
It’s death outside
but each passing headlight
is a howl through the canyons.
The universe makes a thousand copies of everything:
flat scrub grass, sawtooth mountains
paper bag bush
and the desert woolly star.
Reminds me of leaving the office,
the mirage of one last coworker headed to his car
in the violet after hours,
in the way out there,
a blemish on the face of the moon.
Here I have my little life,
entering numbers into a spreadsheet,
through the twinkling, untilled field,
so the cells can conduct electricity
and a flash of people kissing, chatting, staying up at night
can pass through the air.
only metal can pierce the sky without dying,
which I guess really means that
only objects may receive a violence
so vast as to be beautiful.
A version of this poem first appeared in Boulevard.
Hua Xi is a writer and artist and occasional art critic. Their work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation and Boston Review. They love the sky. Twitter/Insta: @huaxixyz
The Ekphrastic Review
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