Mr. Perspective Gains Perspective
Cameron Paterson

First the light opens in a milky vase.

Whether he sees a slavering rabid dog

or a Madonna, still, he’s looking for meaning.

Teeth in.  Teeth out.

Chaste, hollow, he can’t make sense

of anything.  Just to know how it would feel

to give back what’s given,

he smashes the vase

and his compass spreads on the ground.

He feels so purely gray-washed.

Only the crystal still rings.

Sitting with it for awhile, he dreams

of altering the earth’s axis.

There is no way to catch himself in this scene.

You cannot enter, say the woods.

He enters.

Such lonely work, giving perspective

to red pines and evergreens and black claws

under the eyes of everyone.

And yet strangely not having a complete face

is why he’s survived so long:

his chilling eyes insist that nothing else is unclear,

calling forth a dish towel, toy horses,

honeysuckle blossoms working with grass,

candles burning down in right corners;

he is desperate for meaning, nonetheless.

He asks for it and is given a blue sun.

What he will not burn is only a promise.