The mountain topped with coal
was not yet mined, and from the coal, the water fell
so blue it could be sky,
just like in a child’s mind.
The water formed a lake at the mountain’s root.
What was green on such rocky soil
grew low except for one tree
with oval leaves as mirrors
held by stems carved to fit a lady’s hand.
Came the birds, great as planes
in the world war and even just as blue.
The sun, directly overhead at noon,
had no shadow except for the coal,
which absorbed all the colors
under a sky that absorbed nothing
as if a white page on a table
in a house where everyone complains
about how cold it is every morning.
What about its color? asks the father,
tapping the paper.
The child hasn’t gotten that far.
The coal was classified
according to its volatiles, the parts
of its composition that would react, creatures
that would fly.