Sawnie Morris

September 18, 2012

Water. Light. Stone.

The ponderosa past the glass was brought for him, and yet
it was a gift for me. What river took us or what current
in the grey of dream? Lift me silk and feel along –
between – amid the morning pool of lines. I sing of this.
Recall when I could walk into the gorge – its maw – climb out.
(Was it my fault I lay me down with such determination?!)
The slightest speed, too many steps, and I’d be ill as hell
again. Inside this terrarium of restraint, I am a romping letter,
an alphabet of hope within a cold disastrous soup.
Chill and bitter broth you ask? Green, I say, and lemon.
Pliant trunk of radish. Onion peeling veils. The kale,
(of course) the kale. A simmering of olive blood. Its fiery
amber. Though twilight’s blue, this time is round and orange. The ink
is black, its chamber long and silver, and similar to sleet.

My surface now like snow gone slack. Patches, paws, boot
& claw tracks line the road. A muddy rust – not bright enough
for blood – pocks & stains the slush. The road itself, pure ice,
pure sheen beneath the slap of silver chains on spinning tires.
Our puppy wildly casts about. His curly hair, his grey-black
pads, slip & skate. His easy four-foot gait contrasts
my regimented limp – not a limp at all – but slow
and measured glide, a metric meant to match my thumping heart,
its pulse amid the sage. Needles on the snow-shagged
pine commence – fall into –  gusts. The whim of Chinook wind;
a forest scarf, its silver fringe of willowed boughs. The stiff
salute of apple trees, their sap-drained limbs shuddering.

Despite the warning signs that burden dreams of snow
and driving fast, too fast along the seam of mountain road, the icy
bend I skidded from adrift and calm as flakes, their blanched
and frozen blood crystallized as window panes that fall and fall
and don’t care where or if they pause. Below, is a hidden place,
where bodies branch and rivers dark and sleek will smoother stones,
or ruffle them like lace around an absent pulse. Don’t linger there,
where leaves begin to mulch. Get up and move, but slowly now,
in undertones of bud and grass that patch a wounded earth.
Greening it, whatever it may really feel (what does it feel?) beneath.

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