an ode

At each upward glance
ducking around rock and limb
soft contour of arbutus red
brown green diffuse lit supple
and shaded in cove and crook
I thought of your skin and
the expectation of you on a bluff
as I steam through the plucked cliffs
over moss and dripping salt
finally seeing the subtle tonalities
of mountain shadowed shoulder
For once a guiltless infidelity
mistaking a tree for you
on the same trails other
poems were written onto
where an unsettled summer had to
die off into bleakest winter
to allow resurrection into clean new skin
paper curls of red flaking to the ground
lime green beneath
and time’s every etched groove
still palpable. grey branch bones
scattered, moss on rock, doug fir shade
rotting cliff killed deer
and camas pushing up from
imagined soil
we have a lot to explore there
you and I
we still have almost everything to learn

Mesh and Rive

The violence of compromise pre-exists in me.
The ionic trace that leads electrical discharge;
Fissure in sun-baked wood guiding the maul
The crevassed ice shelf before it splits off
And drowns half of humanity.
Lightning exploits the compromise
As does the wood
And the ice
And the heart.
The cleft,
The cleaving
Grounds potential
And keeps other elements
From thunderously splitting apart;
Keeps the machinery grinding along
Gears gnashing into and out of mesh
Keeps your hand from gliding down splintery wood
Too quickly, too firmly; keeps the slivers from bone.