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-wiawasmwsraiwarsarawariswwwwwwwil POETRY I BY PAMELA PORTER NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY Timelines in history books shoot across the page even and flat; whether in multi-page foldout, horizontal, vertical, time marches like a parade band, ramrod straight. In actual fact it growls and jerks like a seismic fault, locks, and later in one horrible moment gives way. Today I’ll walk down the path from my pale house, apples in my palms to greet my horses nuzzling close, ears cocked with expectation. Likely it will happen, this meeting, rubbing of foreheads, apple foam dripping from their mouths. Perhaps not. Take another horse for instance, palomino. Back up a week or so. She, braided and practised for next day’s show, freaked at some vague shadow in the field, night of no moon, slammed head-on into the great oak she earlier had scratched herself upon fractured neck. She lay in the grass until, daylight, her owners came and crashed flat into the dreadful concussive instant. Or how, just last night that girl, only 14 she was, bicycle poised atop the fatal hill, faced the sudden unmaneuverable thrust, her parents inside their lamp-lit house, one behind the paper, one preparing dinner. And when a thousand or more die at once, the whole world shifts its planetary weight, the fissure visible to the naked eye even if, from space, it’s as though nothing out of the ordinary has occurred, nothing at all. GIFT Think of the simplicity of stone, a leaf hanging sleepily over a pool whose depth is lined with stones, whose stones lie covered with grains of silt and when the branch lets fall the leaf, water for the moment holds it up, rippling with pleasure. This is your gift: the ice-edged pool frigid and clear with a view to its depth. Think of yourself, then think of the world like this. PAMELA PORTER was born in New Mexico, grew up in Texas, graduated from SMU in 1978, then went to graduate school in Missoula, Montana. She now lives in Sidney, BC, Canada, and writes, “I’d hate to try to imagine Texas without the Observer.”Naomi Shihab Nye JANUARY 27, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21