This tower is an excavated well
where robed scholiasts
crank a windlass.
A bucket ascends from the abandoned benthos
bearing the heavy reflection of their peering.
Is this tower the chanter
of the sky’s pipes, or the dry syrinx
of the dead bird of the sky?
this tower is a tipped-up lava tube
exposed by erosion.
The tone windblown
over the hole
is a mouse on the snow of the spine.
Richard Kenney was born in Glens Falls, New York, in 1948 and is the author of five books of poetry: The Evolution of the Flightless Bird, Orrery, The Invention of the Zero, The One-Strand River, and Terminator. In 1987 he received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently professor of English at the University of Washington and lives with his family in Port Townsend, Washington.