There were four wolves.  Only one
ruled.  Structure is a part of nature,
its cruel order, insensitive survival rates.

Yet order saves us;  how we struggle
against chaos, why we entertain the King,
how low we hold our bodies beneath His. 

Voluntary submission. Worship.

On the tail of each wolf, a unique
pattern of fur, like a fingerprint,
like the odor of self.  Recognition.

One theory is interesting:  if you're searching
for distinctive signs of royalty 
look to those who serve Him.

The Garden

Devastating, the wild world, its visible light,
its forbidden unhappiness, unholiness;
a transitional passage to the other side.

In the same way, I forgive my father, I forgive
myself.  Absolutely. The doorway holds
two faiths.  Entrance, exit.

There is a God.  For each blonde-white star,
each radiant end, every wilted heart there
is a beginning, a middle, a finish.

And then return
to the garden
we were made for.


Fighting Gravity

Each night, she must be watered
as if she were a flower.  She is not
a flower.  The needle placed just between
skin and muscle;  sometimes pain
is love.

Sometimes pain becomes a skill
like falling gracefully or slowly
just like things-that-fall-slowly.

Gravity.  Sin or Grace.  Punishment
or relief.  The only surviving victim
learns acceptance then chooses:
drink or choke.

You too will lean into that heavy
flow and flow.  Like a petal
on a river current



The Trap

From a place above the mud,
a bird fell and struck, a force
pressed down to slow spilled blood.  

Sometimes the safest spaces
are the ones that hold you 
indefinitely.  You learn to love
what traps you.

So say the stars whose bird-like bones
sewn tightly to its thick, black fabric
frozen stiff and still like photographs 
of falling snow-

stagnant, light-filled, beautiful. 

Until you know the meaning
of forever,

stay here.


Terrible Distance

However disappointed or impatient,
the moon rising round, silver painted
its terrible distance minimized by a crescent
shadow-  the world's body

not its tiny bees and lakes or wolves
absorbed in the shape of a cupped hand
held over a quiet light as if to say

"these are the secrets
we cannot share".

Who knows the size of a thousand
evenings woven loosely like a sweater
whose red hood hides a witness, what
she covets from who she fears. Why

does she live in darkness, when
what she feels is fire?

This night, many nights, so many
wounds have healed by luck or
prayer or preparation.  Perhaps
the moon will slip or slide to its destruction
before she disappears.


Perpetually Interesting

This is not how they told me
this would happen:  how things
would change without changing:

each beautiful smile a warning
to observe closely, to interpret, 
to entrust.  

Don't forget to believe thus
you will become a part of
perpetual deception.  

See how pure and clear the bell
rings, like the heart struggles
to keep up.  I know the name
of each flower, bird and bee;

they won't save us.

But they will remember that
clear, blue day which in your world
is but another turned page

as if the book is short, sweet
and interesting.


One Heat Hides The Other

Artifice of fire on stones, the cold
surrounding that which burns it
like myelin sheath around
the core of its nerve.  

I won't remind you again of 
what you've struggled to forget
since you were ten years old.

I believe we came into this world
to rectify the falseness.  Like a swarm
of locust hides the sky or devastates
the crop, clears the field.

When the flame dies down, the odor
of charred meat and wood, ash 
fine as our bewilderment, the color
of our hair, the mystery solved

we can hide each other.  

Sometimes I'm Thinking

How often comes thunder
where there are no storms?  That
black and white rippling slowly
peeling back the water's skin;

what is its purpose?

Or the deepening voice of 
the beast rising to splendid
singing changes the patterns
of dreaming

like a perfect wheel rolls
down the smoothest hill.

By Itself

Loneliness.  One testicle, a missing
finger.  A small, black bird in a leafless
tree.  No clouds, a pitch-black night,
a sweater without any sleeves. 

The whooshing sound from the end
of a long, dark tunnel.

Or me.

The Message

They can say what they need to say
more efficiently.  Over the sound of cars
or the ocean, very distinct if you're noticing,
another sound:  

like a shoe being pulled off a foot
or the monochromatic hum of bees
whose DNA is precisely magnificent.

One hole is enough.  What falls in it
isn't particularly important.  The act
of catching the wary off guard, shooting
a bullet just missing the heart

or pulling the string that unravels
the ball is far more interesting.

Fools won't hear the message over
the noise of their mouths.  Nor the singing.

A Few More Shouldn'ts

Shouldn't drag the beast
when it's mouth is open.  Shouldn't
shoot the owl;  it's twin will hunt you.
If you're made of paper, you shouldn't
dance in the rain;  its very messy.

Shouldn't look for ghosts
they might find you.  Shouldn't
break the bread before the bells
have spoken.  Shouldn't be afraid
unless you've lost your footing.

Shouldn't scratch the surface;
what lies beneath may be unleashed.
Shouldn't talk too loud when saying
your confession;  your enemies are listening.
Shouldn't tease the hungry wolf or
wake it when it's sleeping.

Shouldn't take to heart
another's hearts rejection; two like
objects are always boring. Shouldn't
wait too long to be in love;  there are
a finite number of buses.  

Accidental Autopsy

The time comes.  The cleaver falls
to target.  Have I dreaded this moment
longer than I've enjoyed it?

Don't judge yourself.  There is
a greater love who knows this better.
This life, the air that moved it;  where
it landed.

When it goes, something goes
with it. On four feet with jaws that crack
the bone.  That cuts the whole
into two unmatched pieces

that were organized accidentally.


As Once It Stood

Today the wind said "now these
forgotten walls remember sky".
An old building flattened to rubble
dreams of its disconnected bones.

So too, the needle of a compass
young, long,whitened fingers point
to what had been as its heart
loses all sense of direction.

On the way through the hills
one stops often to rest even
falling to knee where doubt
becomes a root, green bleeds

as once it stood in full blossom.