There is a place that I have walked
where my shoes got soaked with rain
from the ground and from the sky.
Place of faraway bravery and rugged need;
'alone' a necessary and a blessed space.
I found my body breathing
in quiet courage, silent
at a river, fingers open
to the frost,
Place on the threshold of beauty and ancient revolutions;
'magic' an alive and a flowing force.
I found my soul floating
in the birth of self, angry
and certain, voice tethered to
Parallel lines are a false comfort:
Our lines grow tangents,
undulating with faithfulness
to the mathematics of intersection
and round circles
like a wave.
Air is gone so suddenly and your lungs are shriveled and small.
You thought that it would change things, clinging to the railing and refusing to leave the unfeeling but homey steel frame. You thought they would give up, go out themselves, leave you to be unchanged. You do not matter to other people. Your choices are not significant to them. You wanted to unchoose, and they should let you.
"Committment," they mumble (or shout). They wear their white suits unnaturally; yours is stained with strawberry ice cream. You hid in the freezer room, and they found the meat and ordered you out.
"The moon really does have no air," you gasp. The surface shines brighter than the atmosphere. You tumble: stars burn below you, and the weightless rocks pile around your head.
muscles in my neck are not strong enough
to hold up my head; I am sad. I am
glad; emotions wrangle like a thousand
fish in a net, vying for freedom, ripping
their case apart. Sad, a crayon-scribbled shark
tears morosely at the ropes. Big it feels,
and angry, a child whose best friend is
fast like a shark, and swimming away.
And speaking of sharks, they feel the same way;
why does the sun change in the ocean, and
how come the ocean is so far apart?
His eyes are puffy from the salt, always
open. In the ocean, no one can see
The forest is where you breathe. Finding broken branches, crumpled needles, your clay crumbles in the natural dirt. You decompose with the rings of the trees; water and air melt everything into calm agreement. Standing, you see this: that the trees stand where they always will. Friends have uprooted, but the trees will stay until their soil gives way and they tip.
The sky above you remembers and goes with you too.
Here is where you can sit,
shuffle pebbles under your bare feet,
poke the airy water
pull up twigs by their roots
and then move on to the next rest point
It will be
a heavy hike
but you will enjoy
the flowers that litter the way.
If you breathe
and let today be just a day.
In the later afternoon, it moved: an elephant grinding its way through the unnecessary forest. Its strong back rippled. I followed it from tree to tree. It kept a steady course west as the afternoon light paled.
The sun finally shattered into stars when it halted on the edge of a cliff. Clouds bowled below us in the lower peaks. It settled on its haunches, moss ruffling in the evening breeze. It did not move again.
Can this be a waterfall that only I have seen?
Can my eyes have one thing that is only theirs?
But the ants have seen it. Beetles and deers have.
Humans, too, are not rare creatures. So the sense of exploration
is blown along, dusty with kicked feet, rutted trails.
But has anyone seen that water drop, that splatter?
I am truly the only one to see this moment, this path of falls;
the water will never be twice the same;
(my possession grasps at straws).
My eyes, seeing it again; but I flow on.
Not twice. Already I have found ten new things
that maybe I have only beheld with my
The mountains set, and what I mean is they went out, slowly. They dimmed behind themselves, like a dancing crowd following a holy thought. I watched with my pack next to me, across the lake perched halfway down the face. The boulders around me turned over and went to sleep. The sky that had seemed depthless in the blue day closed in hollowly. I could hear the muffled sound of my movements. I was in a closet and not the open air, and my body panicked.
I snatched my pack from a sleeping rock and tore down the mountainside. Rivers of stones scattered down ahead of me; the blood pounded in my ears. In the blackness, my only sense was gravity. The descent was miles long; I tumbled and felt the wetness of blood in my hair.
Water. I huddled on the shore, trembling.
We sloshed around the shallows of the lake, feet sticking, reeds slapping our mouths. He got to the log before me, and I sat down. He stood. The water rippled, and the damp air clung with gnats.
A noise like a thousand bees dying collapsed behind us. Our tree was felled. Its fresh greenery would not brush our cheeks again. The salamanders would find a separate place to drink, nearer to the ground, drying soon without fog seeping into their skin.
"They could come here," he said without turning.
I shook my head. "You live your whole life in a redwood, as a salamander. How would you learn how to swim?"
"Organisms are surprisingly resilient, I've found." He turned to me. "We find our life where we need to."
He slung the climbing rope over his shoulder and we parted the reeds slowly.