"I found the sky there much reduced."
Growing up in West Texas, I knew only
a land that was exquisitely flat, starkly
horizontal for as far as my vision stretched.
And the azure vault of the sky
remained perfectly uninterrupted
in every direction of the compass.
However, when I travelled for school
to the ignoble State of Louisiana, I found
the sky there much reduced.
The bald cypress, slash pines, water hickories,
and black walnut trees obscured the horizon
and this fragmentary remnant of the heavens
left me with a feeling as though my pockets
had been picked. This reduction of my habitat
left me uprooted, and my expanse compressed.
I wonder if our souls might
be shaped as much by the skies
of our childhood as by its events.
I know I require much more room
to make bigger mistakes,
a broader margin for error.
James R. Dennis is a poet, a novelist, and a Dominican friar. He has previously written two collections of poetry, Correspondence in D Minor and Listening Devices. He also writes and teaches on spiritual matters. He was born in West Texas and now lives in San Antonio with two ill-behaved dogs.