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LANDSCAPES / Jonathan Holden near Moab, Utah AU morning, drifting among the tall volumes of that rock library we kept our voices hushed, as if those rocks— great wrinkled scholars hunched against the skywere frowning over matters far more momentous than we were while our voices, lightweight, silly as the voices of schoolchildren in such a company of elders, floated about their shoulders, rolled off their backs. Some landscapes invite us to fall in love with them. Their features, like the countenances of the very beautiful, remain ambiguous, composite of so many slowly dissolving human expressions that, like the faces of the famous, they promise intimacy with everyone at once. Though they be eyeless, though they hold their pose, perfectly demure, it's as if the gaze of a shadow or a tree, the empty gaze of even light itself held some indication, could answer us. Whichever way we turn, they turn with us slightly. We stop. They stop, waiting for us. Nothing moves. Like beautiful women, the rocks return our gaze, expectant. There is no need for speech. Their gaze means everything at once. 42 · The Missouri Review FACING WEST / Jonathan Holden When the moon rose that winter the mountains shone, a dim white cliff. No depth— just a white fact of the moonlight, an immense encroachment of silence across the stars. Alone I would pace the west window that faced the mountain. Up there, lost in that white drift of valley, rock, and ice lived a woman, was the single part of the world I truly loved. Against the night, how minute it looked. A speck? Less than that: a point hidden beyond the first pale range, and high where it was palpably darker, the stars so bitterly bright, direct on the ice, the moment you shut your headlights off a cold vacuum descended on the roof. I'd face west, oriented toward one small room, its stark interior a laboratory where what we'd distilled was kept pure and potent—all the weather that moved through her beautiful face as the sun would choose the different windows, deepening, dividing the morning into another human landscape. If there's any place in this world where you are welcome— some part that is loyal, no matter how far or how infinitesimally small—that tiny, moist place you keep on your own person, you carry it with you. Facing that direction, you face all the places you live. The Missouri Review · 43 *Ä* IWHAi if o STA^K. ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 42-44
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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