He came from the city and eighteen years later had successfully become the creek. Time then began passing. First, dark blue grass was pulled up on strings, blade by blade, to make the sky. Some rather large trees self-seeded and appeared suddenly. They were watered from a brown bowl into which was poured life's fire from the broken bags of a day. Meanwhile, he used all his skill to remain flowing and when winding torturously on flat ground drew to himself the black of closed songs to bind glory to the loss-curves of the head and soles. Yellow petals fell. His blood became yellow. When friends visited he lifted his banks and gave them an edge. They would sit and dangle their toes and watch the shadows moving there, in him. Leaving, they would feel better. In their houses at night, in the towns and in the busy places that never closed, they did not know he was silverly quoting the moon. Crooning through the dark he meandered mixing little bits of soil with drop after drop of clear water. Somewhere along the way he fell in love with a smooth stone and returned to it daily with a cool poultice. But he was always, always drifting. Even the breeze stirred some old pain in him and every breaking branch was an arrow for his heart. This was serious for no longer could he mix medicines for anything which might ail him. Any prescriptions now were but a red scribble on a cloud. Two birds have him in perspective. Light dapples they say. Rain falls and it falls into a creek. Even the rain has forgotten him. When he was a chemist, late he would return home tired to sit with his eyes closed and his hands at heavy rest in his lap. Like this he dreamed that he had made a mistake in his preparation and that he would one day remedy it.

Life has a Way of Killing Us

Three days at the end of a long period of dying - this is how it always is for those of us who live three days. Life - whether it be of the second or the year - when stretched, always covers the same distance, that measured by the holding out, what is alive against itself and all that runs to and from its shining point.

So, save your own skinny time, if you must, but life has a way of killing us. First, in dribs and drabs, then later by emptying the clock - in toto - and stuffing it full with ignorance and astonishment. The ignorance is your last gift—the obsolete necessity—and if you have never been astonished it is because you have suspected everything and confused any thing with what you suspected was its purpose.

No utility now: the final and everlasting thrill of presence.

MTC CRONIN ~ BRIEF BIO MTC Cronin has published six books and three booklets of poetry, the most recent being beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (Salt Publishing, UK, 2003). Her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda's Questions, is being translated into Spanish by the poet, Juan Garrido Salgado and a collection of her work is being translated into Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian by Tatjana Lukic. She is currently working on her doctorate, The Law of Love Letters ~ Prose, Poems, Law & Desire, at UTS. Her newest book, 1 - 100,was published in September 2004 (Shearsman Press, UK) and another collection is due out in the United States in 2005.