We stretch to see the light. We bend
down to touch the darkness; the narrow
spaces between the spine are the hands
of our soul. Since when have we, moving
through the world, learned to mark it
like wolves in the woods; our territory
found by smell, color, trampled grasses?

Once there was a man who could not move;
his body was a building made of steel,
glass and concrete. But his heart crawled
through its window every night to fly
over the canyons like a bird and brought
back with it the sky, the clouds, the red
black dusk.


The Sound of Wing

Like memory of womb, the sound
of her voice reaching farther back
than pain which light causes.

The only other comforting audibles:
water moving, streaming, the nearly
imperceptible hummingbird wing

caught below a fushcia's stamen.
Once aware of silence, how it opens
out like folds of paper, the way

its shapeless mist and starless
constellations resemble what we
know of loneliness, we are changed.


Passing Through

Forever turning from the eyes,
arms, the small pink ears,

flowers in their last brief burst
of beauty; there is no terror

for the dead. But I am caught
between perfection and the dormant

blur of flesh like grounded silver
fish whose tidals have expelled them.

There are rituals for evening, not
unlike the layered stones of bridges;

geography becomes a journey here to
there without prosperity or destination.

In these moments of lucid resurrection
choose the river or the blue-cast hills

or walk a path that intersects them
through the quiet, thistled meadow.

The Mystic Jawbone

When we find the one
star that shines stronger
than the others or the mystic
jawbone of a Baiji Dolphin
wedged into the sand-

this means we will be

When ashes fall like
flakes of snow resemble
one another or night rewinds
a kaleidoscope of blackness,
dark and deep as blindness-

this is how the soul


Natural Wounds

Late in the evening a flock
of crows agitate the skies;
there will be no sleep tonight
for coyotes or the open eyed.

There are stranger sights than
nature. See the heart build
its concrete house without
a single window; imagine

the darkness of its history.

This is what I know: a claw
positioned on the pulse will
drop the helpless prey. Stay
the hand of fate and you will

only wound it.


The Old Dark Mare

Today comes the hope that all
will be forgotten. I spent it
thinking of you after a dream
of how I left you while you
did nothing to stop me.

Two bowls of milk, one full
the other hardly filled. Hunger
is incentive for the prowler who
will not steal gifts, instead
reluctantly wanders away.

Today the gates have opened.
The old dark mare lifts her head
with youthful motion, not confident
of where to go, how to get there
but sure she will not stay.