by Prairie L. Markussen
after Andy Goldsworthy
He is fascinated by the circle,
birthing it anyplace with nature’s nearest tools.
His circles gape dark in dust, push
webbed mesh of twigs aside to allow
its gravid circumferences to spread, hollow out
snow mounds, only to see them cave
in on themselves, given time.
The circle is everywhere.
Yet it is the erring oval, edges uneven,
the tips pointed, that suit him better. The circle
is nature’s darling, the eye’s easy choice.
The almonded oval is something else.
It is not the moon, not the berry,
not the orange or the sun.
It is the hard, red sand of Mount Victor,
carved, layered—an ever-descending
opening. It is the clay pushed
into the hollow of a south-facing tree in Runnymede.
It is its remoteness
in shadow, its welcome smile
in dappled light.
It is the feathering of red leaves,
like a hemline of lace,
edging the inward-facing bark
in Scaur Water. It is the oval, its hopeful half,
the ragged earth-slash, and not
the circle, that suits him. It shows.
It is evident—he has toyed tenderly with stones,
stuck numb hand between rocks
in creek beds, sought the crevasse
in the glacier, traced the uneven borders
of countries and waters alike along
a yellowing map. The uneven,
and imperfect. Not the yawn of the circle,
but the tattering call, the bright cry,
of the other.