First time for the moon, first time for the sun,
first time for the both of us, Nickel and me,
him in his field
galloping over to the cedar rail,
ears tipped to greet and touch my hand,
feel my breath,
the trees letting out that one syllable sigh
in the space of a lifetime.
For one brief moment – it’s electric – I sense
the universe collapsing
into all we have between us.
That four-year old paint knows everything I do,
that he needs to know,
but I have what he wants
and I write it down for him in apples
and its alphabet.
I use up an entire store of syllables
to say my name and who I am and where I’m from,
but it’s my breath, and nothing more,
that Nickel needs to read.
In the Hills of Appalachia
Big ideas coming down from the hills
and bigger yet I get lost among the leaves,
that cool green element in the upper Appalachians.
Big trees get bigger every day
and yet somehow never linger forever.
Same goes for the folk in the valley.
Bye-bye lilies, it’s the last of you today, gone to God
The pretty pinks have also gone
and the banjo-picking peepers.
A few words can make everything so real.
One less lily and the impossible iris of yesterday is now
in a world of its own.
There are some reflections only I can see
and some only when
the light’s turned on, as it is
at this very moment,
green right through in the hills of Appalachia.
that the sun has yet to leave
and it’s almost at the point of no return
that time of day when the lake’s not as lively
and the sheen of its watery lustre is dimming.
Lilies are beginning to fall apart, the shrapnel of petals
in a soft explosion.
The old ways of doubling up are vanishing for now,
the water’s surface a blank that keeps you guessing
what’s real and what was once in deep reflection.
Trees are losing their sight
and the big green spaces diminishing,
flattened in the persistent gloaming,
green to dark green
then black as blindness hovering below the withering
until there’s nothing left to see but darkness,
tight as a fist.
The old ways may be changing—the absence of light
marks the end of the lilies,
but whatever you imagine beyond today
that might come tomorrow
was here before.