A boy comes to class
covered in ash. His eyelids are grey,
and each time he closes them, dust
from the fires of summer falls
onto his desk. His eyes are blue and hold
a far-away world like he’s a bird
circling a lake, a distant lone speck
lost in a vastness that is his home.
• • •
At night the coyotes return
and their cries illuminate the lonely world
in the field beyond my house.
Hunting in the month of darkness, they sing
in their original forms, shapes and
shadows in the distant starlight.
• • •
The hallways are scattered with pages
torn from an old book: the words
float on the linoleum,
students pass from class to class
stepping on them in a blindness:
He is gone: another voice dissolved
into sand above the river
Out in the world, no one sleeps. No one, no one.
the river: a blue ribbon of sorrow
They could become white rocks with the moon’s help.
swallows make nests in the white clay cliffs
above the wide, deep river
they dip and scream over the far banks
[the body a whisper around wings]
The grass of my heart is somewhere else.
September: horses fly over the golden fields,
horizon the color of blood before nightfall.
• • •
Another young person gone. Too much,
too much! The hallways are so white,
empty places are written on the inside
of lockers. The space a white blindness
of wings so close to the dead. Hands
flap in the quiet air.
• • •
Mountains rise up to the east
and speak through me at dawn.
Shadowed in darkness they are as impenetrable
as the book of death. Soon, sunlight will rise up over peaks
and illuminate the steep cliffs and yellow larch--
this sad, tangible world, with its ripe tomatoes
and magpie eaten apples, with its terrible sorrow
and sharp swooping beauty--
the light will spill onto ponds near Kicking Horse
where swans have returned and the small red-eared slider turtles
are sleeping in black mud. It will soak the sun bleached
bones of the dead mule in the pasture
close to the house.
• • •
After night, after howl, the white space
of dawn. A horse lifts his head
against gravity and watches as light fills the field.