Some say the secret’s keeping secrets.
We tire of what’s known.
Bright clothing fades in sunlight, and stones
exposed to weather wear away. But minerals accrete
around a rock buried under the stream,
wood covered with ashes burns
for days. Maybe that’s why we love dreams
and memory, why young girls in bars learn
what native people knew, to keep
their true names from strangers.
And why we fear photographs: their danger
is they capture too exactly.
So what is it, hidden in a word?
What swims there, in deep
water, under the light-reflecting sea’s
surface. What center do we circle, like birds
of prey, toward what fish do we dive?
We want the world to yield,
just as much as we want to stay alive.
What we don’t know is what we feel.
We feed on the secret revealed.

(kz 1992)

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