Phenomenology of return

~ After Remedios Varo, “Exploration of the Sources of the Orinoco River,” 1959

Don’t we all wish to return,
to discover how it is that infinity

reaches across the world in a shimmer
of overlapping circles, unfazed by obstacle?

It simply goes around each tree in the wood,
spreads a filmy veil over every house, falling-

down shed, office building, and church; the sign
above the 24-hour drugstore and pool hall;

the alley where stray cats congregate,
giving rise to rumors about the most delicious

steamed meat buns in the noodle shop next door.
In the story about a fish that grants a boon,

the fisherman’s wife knows that the sweetest
meanings are always closest to the bone.

She tells him to go back and ask a deeper
question, which sadly he interprets as merely

a demand for more. Here she is, setting out to do
the hard work herself then— peeling back the body’s

outer cover, waterproofing the heart, re-rigging
the wings. So much ceremony, in order to arrive

at the spot where the water gushes without
measure, gives before one even thinks to ask.

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