Left here to revive
amid footprints
and empty bottles of the older derelicts,
I uncushion my head, pain
rushing to a clot,
and contemplate motion—at such times
walking’s a fair ballet—
I get up anyway
and trudge through carbon dawn
to sweat my heart clean.

Down the rivertown way,
vistas run out,
heady with muscadine vines and sardines for sale;
a mirror seen through cafe window
catches steam and the cook’s cigarette;
nets are stretched to dew and spent mayflies;
the rattle of outlandish canepoles
echoes my heels
as I follow fishers for awhile.

Behind a pile of cinders
I pick one flower,
which I shall give to some woman
and sing penance the rest of this day.
The Going Gets Better Than Being There
Last winter
the days were bare as trees.
You were far from me.
Now a fertile breeze
connects our thoughts,
pulling out a softness like lint blown
from cottonwoods.
Our tendrils clutch across
big-bellied river.

We are here
sharing a train whistle,
the arc of sun and clouds.

Above the high whine of diesels
my head rings against wind
and distance.
Mt. Island Lake
With the last of the sun,
we washed eyesight
in waves patting the shoreline
beneath a terraced horizon.

Thoughts lie on air
like smoke or fog,
words roll down red-fanged cliffs
to turtle-back water,
heavy with secrets and
fish big as men.

Between ridges
fox bark cracks a silence over
choruses of frogs;
across the lake,
sounds of campers
die out with their coals.

Locked in
we drift ghost-like along
the snake fence
under marshmallow moon
impaled by saplings;
we give up on soft moss.

Above our sleep
dogs ring the valley.