The river is slow to anger,
almost stagnant in mid-summer.
Smells like moss rock, the burbled
slippery kind that turns rust brown
in August, reeks of rotting. Moon still
out, agrees to follow me, whittled
under her constant orange eye.
I am smoldering, newly furrowed.
Trapped sparrow against heavy glass.
Drowning in wallpaper, odor of his
talcum, oiled bureau while talons
spring from my fingers. But nothing
to spear except words which cannot
be captured. Ice clouds, then fog banks
all round him, seeps inside me, stays
like a sad song thawing my heart
but chipping me apart chink by chink.
I am going to be chiseled, a hunk
of old plaster, the house remodeled,
sleek plastic, textured glass. But I am just
a dirt girl, so crawl to the yard, smell the spice
of tomatoes just climbing out of their cages.
On a day of bone picked clean, scavengers
circling, worry rattling its deep hollow,
this path to wander down or plod – even
if you don’t belong in open air, leaf quilt.
How woods build a room of gold, then paint it
tawny or slick gray in late November.
Clearings, songbird still, or whistling through
your chafing heart, softly waving phragmites.
Off the small ridge, roots entwine like steps
and you pick your way down – alone, except
the dog who halts now and then, pricks
her velvet ears which stand like little tents.
Below, the breeze is damp off the farm pond.
And there, three fat white swans float and dip.
Their bottoms rise like silent boat hulls, plump
and solid. While the heron skulks in the corner
where she often waits, a sheath, in shadows.
Salute her as you do the white-bellied
hawk dangling a squirming small thing from her
beak, the huntress who’ll protect and keep you.