DARKNESS DESCENDS, OR BETTER: blows in sideways from the sea. When the clouds cover up my sunshine I take it as inevitable, and maybe that comes off as callous or queer to the straight and narrow-minded. I took the news of little Charlene's drowning not so much stoically, but removed. Where was I? Like the cover: above. Behold our small commune, the ranch, the store, as just a mad scurrying of ants that, although pulling ten times our psychic weight, can be dashed in an instant by the slip of a giant foot. Alpert would understand.
She was my daughter's closest friend, and with curiosity I watched my envy as I watched them braid each others' hair by the pond, whisper teenaged secrets at night, idle silently by the ocean as Rosemary and I built castles with Jack. To the sheriff I might have seemed deranged--maybe even a monster--as unblinkingly I heard his report of LSD in the autopsy, and some callow cynics spread stories that all mattered to me was the fact that the campaign was all but shot to Hell. But what was really going on was humility, loneliness, and joy at the migration of a close soul. Death, the poet said: nothing at all.
Men run ragged and tear out hair, decrying villainy and beating the earth for villains. I watch in wonderment as again the sands shift on our little elegant mandala. Better to be powerless, and scorn to change my state with kings.