their great curves
rising out of her back,
as though her grandeur
proceeded from her self..
I hadn't considered her pain--
her feet are trapped
in the bluff; she eats salt
to match my bitterness;
the sting of sand
always burns her eyes.
Layers crumble, year
by year, from her lips
She speaks to me, and
this is her voice:
The world is harsh,
I will wrestle my angel, free
Why I Am A Witch
Because each October the maple in the field
Takes fire and I stand to watch it burn.
Because sun strikes the far slope
Until the aspens rise, smoky gold.
Because of the edge of the crag.
Because stars hide themselves in the sharp blue,
Waiting. Because I can name things and know
They will change. Because the light
Won't always be there and because
Nothing should hurt that much.
| Lessons of Erosion |
To hike to the spires, you climb
Over two hundred million years,
Language and breath your sacrifice.
This is no temple. Everything growing
On red stone you cross, broken
And deep, twists against light.
Splayed and shredded juniper trunks
Show you to adapt, so you match
Your stride to the scars
That split rock, the path rain
Took down the stone face
Into the wash. There is no water,
Just its memory: a gouge
In the escarpment, dry bed below.
Ripples over sand become stone,
Stone ripples broken like shards.
More ruin waits for weather--
Cloudburst, blizzard, ice.
As you walk in this high, hot air,
Sun sears color into cliffs, and
Breath comes dry from your mouth.
Silken and lush in your body, a drum
Full and tight, water throbbing
Inside, you are learning
The long version of silence.
Few things are less personal
Than how the land needs you,
Saliva, blood, bile.
Things in the Night Sky
First the deepening of elements we long for
Like myth, forgiving experience into patterns
We can scatter, random as stars.
The call of a bird lifts its own coolness,
Music like weep and few. Bats awaken, fly.
The vast, hollow dome evening is becoming
Reminds us we live on a planet and can endure
Absence, where we're moving,
Though not without incidents
Of light. Intent, we study darkness
To learn metaphors for light.
We have always imposed ourselves
Upon the sky. We say darkness grows
Or gathers, as if it were a crop,
Name planets for ourselves, our gods.
And through the night, draw lines
That aren't there, connect stars
Into semblances we can survive--Lion, Hunter, Swan.
But stars, immense, burn and burn
And luminous galaxies spiral
Beyond our planet's small noise.
Their gravity would call us out.
We are surrounded by ancient light
We can't see, come millions of years
Through space we can't recite.