heartwood stands, hard unwrung
she is the wisdom of fortress undone.
a child’s flannel nighshirt
billows close to the hearth, and two-
handed warriors grit teeth hard won.
someone’s small house
on the outskirts of town, burns
with desire and gusts overblown
to smell the green forest
before it is down.
In the mocking blue ice cave under her skin
she forages for dry white sticks. Fingers
of a flame gone blind, she counts
thirty-nine tics on the greyleaf willow.
Her belly is dropping. This is her child’s
asclepieia. Sutures dissolve.
She does not blame greed
for a fuming and finite earth. Buried
alive, dusty bulbs find their way.
Deepest roots drink from the dying sun.
A silver tip tetra sky
spits out clouds like smoke.
Night phantoms dissolve. Suspended
droplets glaze the red-leafed maple branch
catching back their light. Raptors perch here,
meadow frogs croak. I can not hear
you anymore. The landscape is awake,
and its vapor has loosened your hold.
starless sands, hands
at your sides.
flame center blue
thin as day.
your silent nod
from my pocket.
lift off the moon-round cliff
you and I in single track, burn
with the core in free fall
pull ourselves ashore
A lithe golden crescent is cradling its shadow.
Cantaloupe haze drips carmine, exorcising
the horizon in front of your eyes. Is it horror
or exhilaration you feel; can you trust the cosmos
at this hour? You have spent evenings of sorrow
watching condors hover in fleshy apricot light.
You’ve tried burning openings in the frothy gray
that sits on Puget Sound like a brooding mother hen.
When did you let sentiment impale your senses?
During youth, every shooting star was your first.
Nostalgia was something grandmother wrung
in her hands recalling the flood of ’58. The man
clinging to rafters on swells of misplaced water
was the only one who could fill your grandfather’s boots.
These days, you dodge waves with egrets and rails.
Advised to release, you hold tighter knowing
king vulture is looking for someone to let go.
Glacial divides bypass
the dusty canyons thrusting
their will. Moons crawl
through midnights; I want
to touch your singular hurt,
wrap it with my hands
and light-soaked cloths.
I would warm it through
your thick white skin, force myself
into its cold-singe. I want
to evoke you out of the scar
like arctic char augered
from an eight inch ice hole.