“The moon has set”

John Kinsella


          via Emily Brontë

Such rights are set on texts
outside copyright, and that lake
is its own sphere of influence.
But we’ve had lakes in this house, too,
and your mother has each word
of the texts memorized, a glue
of psyche, a warm and comforting
water we swim through, out here, “isolated”
though knowing there’s so much more.
Venus shines close to the brink
of hills, the moon lifts nocturnal
animals, and the valley is a crater
lake filled with drought.
We never claim it as ours —
and there’s no gentrification
of outlook. But we’re here
till the building materials
let go, and its people
take it back. These lakes,
this dry, our imaginary
worlds with too little
or too much foothold.

JOHN KINSELLA’s most recent books include the poetry collection Firebreaks (W. W. Norton) and the critical study Polysituatedness (Manchester University Press). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University, Western Australia.