The country ends here. Sharp gray slate,
hard as consonants, usurps the soft earth.
Where waves curl round as vowels, Erie
begins its landís end lapidary of stones.
In the distance is the horizonís long division:
below, lake; above, sky; between, shore.
No wonder I think in threes: land, water, sky.
No binary opposites, no polemics, just
the even-minded triad that accommodates
third parties, third dimensions, the Third World.
Clouds curtain the blue; the coming stormís
rumble is gray flux, tumult. Gulls fly in place.
Suddenly a lightning bolt cracks the sky as if
it is a window and the instant is a rock, as if
an electric string simultaneously ties together
fire, air, earth, and water. Iím in my element.
Robert Miltner teaches in the Northeast Ohio MFA through Kent State University. His twelfth chapbook, Imperative, is forthcoming from All Nations Press. He is working on a novel, Tempest, and a collection of poems, Hotel Utopia. Miltner edits the Raymond Carver Review.