Friday, December 6, 2013


Pounding Stone with Pestles

A ghost cackles a warning, falls 
like an arrow before flaring its wings, 
plunges towards headstones, then rises,
lost in pines. Leaving Clovis Cemetery,

I parked under a cloud of stars 
near massive oaks, an animal warmth 
emanating from the rough bark,
the sun still inside the cells

of everything breathing. I breathed 
deeply, as often as I could pay attention 
to my breath, the sea of smog 
just below me. Ages ago, 

you taught me the ways of birds,
and I sighted a woodpecker winging
from one oak to another, clinging
to the top branches. A meadowlark 

Close Up of Pounding Stone

tilted back its head, its call bubbling
over the grassland. A shrike stepped 
from a twig, free-falling, floating 
up above its prey--to impale 

on barbed wire for its cryptic 
butcher-shop cache. No one kept 
the houses from crowding closer.
Caked by cow droppings, 

paths still weave into clearings, 
mortars the only sign, roots 
pulling the tribe upward into petals
of goldfields and lupine, high

into branches and leaves, 
into air. Went down 
on my knees before 
the pounding stone, so many

Pestles on Pounding Stone

herds and flocks invisible
in the currents of breath,
and once again heard the cackle 
and pounding, felt the fierce

shadow flowing over me 
like a ghost, the mortars
empty as eye sockets, 
portending an end 

without grace. Did I sleep, 
hearing the meadowlark
as one momentary ring appeared
on the water, then another, the petals

of the purple chinese houses 
beginning to tremble, the oak canopy 
awake with quiet tapping, whatever 
I needed to say lost

in the still sound vanishing 
gradually with my dreams, 
all the roots quietly sucking up the rain, 
the creek beginning to flow again?

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