I expected something up out of the water
not the shadow in the wave that rose
to fill the wave then splash a breath
off the abutting air then disappear.
I didn't see any of this only
the dark wave. Even the size of a whale
I don't see what I look directly at.
I didn't see the pronghorn antelope,
speed they pointed out equal our car's,
but never having seen distance so large
I couldn't pin in it point to antler
and saw in parallax instead the world
entire a still brown arc of leap so like
a first look at the milky way each stone
a star I saw but could not see.
I didn't see
the Nazca earth drawings looking at a line
like a path the vision on it my not looking up.
& trying to see from on the ground looking
from a plane thousands of feet above
maybe I saw only what the unenlightened
marking out the lines could see from there
because I never saw the figures
until shown from books.
I've told folk half the truth that I was there I was
but embarrassed never told I missed my chance
until I saw: without embarrassment
this country miss its chance looking at color
and not see what it looked directly at,
act and not see that done
on its own hands not see its own bright blood.
Ed Roberson, "I Don’t See" from Just In: Word of Navigational Changes: New and Selected Work. Copyright © 1998 by Ed Roberson. Reprinted by permission of Ed Roberson.
Source: Just In: Word of Navigational Challenges (Talisman House, 1998)