False Bay, San Juan Island
In the autumn morning, the high thirds
of the trees I know
have vanished. Obscured by a sleepy fog.
It is a way of being
in pearl which seeps like a surface
covering everything I know.
I imagine that in the night I fly among these trees,
leaping from top to top bearing the fog like a cape,
laying it down behind me. In my dreams,
my body rests heavy on my bed.
Each step deeper in sleep is a lead weight stacked
upon the scale of my dream life
and a piece taken away from my scale’s awakened self.
I, who move about the earth in a drudgery,
try to find peeks of light amongst my livelihoods.
During the night, lines everywhere tear into pairs.
On bodies, on walls, in the black sky,
opening dreams wait for their captivity.
In the dark these lines move in the air all around me.
They shift, pause, and split opened in blinks.
When I reach though them,
I find what lies beyond.
My fingers pull apart a veil in the air before me.
What I see leaves me astonished.
a hoard is found in a field
buried in a pot of lead.
Disassembled to conserve,
catalogued for display.
Amongst the collection
is a turquoised copper brooch,
awoken shallow from a
fallow clutch of clay
Through this case of glass
what I see is my virtue
revealed as an artifact.
A memory of when
I was malleable
soft to form by
In the craftsman’s fire
a copper lustered rose,
bloomed like clouds
this alloy is my clue
of momentary elation.
corroded from a mirror.
A patina witness of how
goodness, too often,
On the landscape of a chest
verdigris lives bled
wax cast impressions.
And I, ashamed, of my
weak will to change,
long to crawl
back into that pot.
To be underground again
A late winter shore, dawn after a storm. The North Sea convalesces.
The amber gatherers are out—tattered children, women, and cripples.
Ensnaring their feet eelgrass, tangled with their dread, coils around their ankles.
It is so deep. They sense its whispered sneers beneath the ocean’s lifting.
They have stood here many times before. Bending low, their hands plunge into the writhing knots. They search for floating stones night-hatched from a swollen past.
Their grasping palms clutch amber depths. Held up to the sky, each pebble becomes a possibility, blue-ignited by a circle’s glow.
For a moment these warm bronze drops become their own,
carried in the leather sacks they’ve sewn.
Over frost-caped rocks they’ll soon hand them off. These pieces of them will wander down southern roads to kingdoms beyond their wonder’s edge.
Soon, they will return to the cold hearths of others. Legs still wet with burden.
Until the next storm, when they will stand out there as they have always done.