LA | NY A Special Edition of The East Village

Paul Vangelisti


The answer of course would come out of Nevada.
It didn't begin as a question of good or evil
though something like a demon figured in rumors.
Photos reveal that her rather pretty face was untouched.
Most of the victims, we soon learned, had been young women.
People regard the sheriff as a quiet, nice enough fellow,
more than a little disturbed by events at the monastery.
The odd thing remains the monks' almost stubborn reticence.
As if there's not much to do, nothing really to understand,
just a matter of resolve and letting events take their course.
Most people consider the sheriff right for the job.
Methodical to a fault, he keeps visiting the monastery:
easing out of his car, smiling against the keen winter light
more like a tourist pleased with an unseasonably mild December;
while the abbot squints, looks down, finds a tired smile
anxious, it seems, to get back to the mercy of his library.
All in all, events contradict the fine desert mornings,
some sense of mystery and dread implicit in the question.
Everyone agrees there are no immediate answers.
It's become a problem of character, of waiting and watching,
as if all hint of direction points to its opposite.
Very little information seems readily available.
Procedure follows procedure, comparisons deny comparison,
walls and hoof prints and books should be made to talk.
For now these questions demand a more sustained position,
something besides a famished moon, stars without twinkle
or the late morning glare peeled back for the purest of reasons.