THE STONES AT CALLINISH, ISLE OF LEWIS
Roger Mitchell
from Half / Mask


A boarded-up hotel beside
a fishing pier, a pub. Above them both,
a church crouched on a hill. Whoever brought
Christ to this desolate coast did it
with sword and fire, and itís not clear today
whether it took, or whether the slow seep
of centuries, the long winter nights,
would ever let anything be that wasnít
as sullen as the hill. The village
is that way, too. When you step outside,
there it is, the universe, all of it,
the glare of it pure, Godís unshaven face
so close your skin rasps. Whoever raised
these stones did a good job of vanishing, too,
though the longer I stand here, the more
it seems it was deeper into the genes
they went, not just into the air.