Nothing is everything

  THE SPACE CLOSEST TO OUR BODIES





Imagine some tan grass and sage,


monoliths and blow outs,


flatness the feet cannot believe,


distance the eye laughs at


as it fumbles blindly


with the ends of all time.





Imagine everything here moves


(even the cactus will come close


to a sleeping man


and the beetle will tunnel


under the arch of his foot)


and a full half-moon


is enough light for gray things.





Here our secret voice is too loud.


When we think, the desert hushes ...


so quiet jack rabbits can hear


owls listening with one ear ...


so quiet when a vulture beckons


with the bones of our hand


our shadow makes a dragging sound


like dry skin over rock.





Inside our selves, there is nothing


anyone can say to us.


We learn to hear a voice


with no sound, with no tongue


with no mouth, as if the air


itself was a way of speaking.


We have become easily startled


because we are living


in the space closest to our bodies.





William Studebaker and Russell Hepworth are longtime residents and students of the dry, cool regions of Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. In Travelers in an Antique Land, Studebaker's spare poetry and Hepworth's black-and-white photographs reveal places that most people see only from their car windows. Their emotional responses to the land transcend politics; their craftsmanship leaves readers with an understanding of the high desert, from Bliss, Idaho, to Death, Nev. Travelers in an Antique Land is for those who wish to hold this part of the world in their hands and minds.


University of Idaho Press, Moscow, ID 83844-1107 (1-800/UIPress). 81 pages, hardback with black-and-white photographs. $49.95





" John Sollers





DRINKING FROM A CATTLE TROUGH





You do this because


it is the only water


because your tongue


has thickened from breathing


because the desert taunted you


and kicked heat down your throat


until you choked.





With both hands


you part the green scum.





You are no Moses


but the clear water below


is a miracle for which


you would risk everything.





Between drinks you watch


mosquito larvae


flip and jerk up and down.


Your last drink is quick


*ot as deep as the first.








THE SKIES OVER NEVADA





Whoever said you can't


learn by studying nothing


wasn't a philosopher


or a Nevadan.


In Nevada, nothing is


everything. We make do


with what we have "


even due north.





Most directions we travel


without. We've forgotten


how the constellations rotate


(things you probably think about


every day). Try as we do


tailing Hydra's too tough.


There's always dust


moving somewhere


and we have to check it out.





We know where we are


and there is plenty of room


to be here, too.


Consider the Humboldt Sink


bigger than the Copper Pit


(the world's largest Glory Hole)


or Esmeralda County


where a citizen can wander


bewildered all her life


looking for the Lost Dutchman.





When we lay our dreams


end to end, they don't reach


the horizon, and we've learned


to be content with just that


much less of everything.