With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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We crouch over a cable bridge.
Water bugs hold the creek skin.
Catfish breathe the muddy bottom,
sycamore roots branch at bank side.
Wind fills in what vision misses
and birds float down to snake sounds.
Friends, plants, animals, your vertical strength:
lichen curve the rock face,
a heavy sky and months since rain.
Red fungus in the brown moss.
The current strikes my legs,
feet lost downstream.
Snow surface of fields, crushed stone
borders a barn
darkens first from corn stalks.
A plow scrapes the road:
run a hand to the shadow
where you must be.
Gone, you are blacker
than that tree against the sky.
See this bird turned in a palm.
The stiff angle of wings to body
opens your beating hands,
lifts the brow grown over eyes.
But see clear as day or moon now risen full
like the fish: hard mouth bitter as yours
who will not speak but breathes the sea,
pumps its gills against its scales:
the lightbulb by the side door of the next farm
headlights circling in front
memorized like the dusty corner of a room:
the wolf whose ears rise in points
sharp as teeth with all the stars
fixed on its coat,
leg clamped in a trap:
tongue bit on ice and gravel
voice barked on a rough head of leaves
fingers folding and unfolding light.