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Passage

Here on the bottom,
I push my fingers into the mud,
with all the music of the world,
muffled and receding.
There is no hand.
The sun cuts the gray and sheds itself
on leaves that blur in lines,
faded and unreal as memory —
a sediment heavy as stone
and the all-devouring dream.
A Cooper’s hawk is winding upward —
the alarm in his scream is lost
in this inward pressure,
the caress of cold water —
the collected rain that runs from this place.
There was still so much to say.
Slowly everything is carried away —
voice and vision,
wind and water,
blood and bone.
Everything is lost at last to its turning.

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Coyote

With a wicked sense
but no eye that could see
we sought —
but could learn no kind
of satisfaction.

There is this language of turning —

(coyote hunts the night) —

and I am lost to it.
Always there is the forgetting,

but the moon has spilled its silver on us again.

And again
and again —
a clockwork dream
that hides then reveals
its hand.

We haunt the constant return.
We sing out! —
and are our own again.

over the ice

the words of banishing were on my lips but when my feet hit the ice they were only the second pair to make tracks on the fresh-fallen snow and I followed the coyote’s meander round a bent wood and through cattails and up down a hill past curious chickadees and rising again found him — the fog of his disappearing breaths — so close and for a moment felt the fear and enticement of prey

Invisibility

So this is what we can be:
a star so faint
as to be only
peripherally visible,
and transitory as moonlight
caught in an icicle.
None can take the care
to see —
so small and shrinking
to this pale point of light,
then blinking —
a remote pulse that fades
and disappears
with the night.

Hoar Frost

I still see the evidence of my passing,
nine days gone now.
But we are ephemeral as hoar frost on the trees at false dawn.
And there is no permanence —
just this splitting and reforming.

I want to demand an understanding,
but in these depths of winter,
moments of truth or beauty are fleeting.
We try to catch on and hold them,
but they melt in the rising sun and let us go.

Three woodpeckers —
all the robins flocked in the hollow.
Things that are always and never the same.

We can barely comprehend it,
how we move in this place —
our scale so skewed —
where all is a fraction of a fraction.

Our small constancies.
The nothingness of it all
when we see the hoar frost.

Vishuddha

We make a feast
of the most bitter truths,
and sacrifice the voice
to beautiful lies.

And only the sun,
bright but weak
in its splintered wintry arc,
can discern and balance the scales.

Naked skin pebbles
in the frozen wind —
we stand on the low rise,
surrounded by unbent prairie grass.

And here there is no escaping
that dissonant voice
that follows
and has always followed.

We are always out before it,
but know deep,
where the truth churns the lie,
some day it must overtake us.

Drop

Was this one last warmth
before snow covered your bones?
Or have you found shelter
in simple?

Either way,
we howl with wind that plays the trees.
They stand in black and white lines
we learn to see between.
And we howl again
because we are not gone yet.

Like water,
you seek the path of least resistance,
downward and downward,
forgetful of freezing
that slows progress to glacial.

But you know where to find us.
We still make this habit
of endurance.
And the embers glow fitful,
drawing us in.

And there never are answers —
just a turning into wind,
a walking into snow,
and movement,
whether glacial or sudden.