Cross five quick streams: friction permits surfaces to marry, but test the rock before committing. By now a mile is ritual, dichroic blue wing a vision animal, feet animal animals. Kneeling stream, do boots dream in vibram of Humphries Peak? Pilgrim idea, saunter me
across the tinseled strands: ledger this, dry is the bargain, and listen, not so many mosquitoes. Tapestry polemic to filibuster, I’m still a soliloquy. (Body says, minwax the sextant with the knowledge inlay, the one that ecologies small gray voles to specimen sheets.)
And being a body, water warbles, expect vanishing. All my verbs are granite carvers. Enough raindrops in Barstow smell mirage. Pipe the bauble to the coast, I can’t be farmed. Exploit the brine beneath Permian shamble, the Crystal Geyser plant in Cartago. Look: my glaciers, wandering into poems. Who rivulet. Who deliquesce.
Spotted orange lilies above Piute Creek, why not love my pixels? Because she labors, labors, the mutter heart. Use a pocket knife to open the moleskin. Camera the gore-tex couple looking vagabond. And doesn’t a waterfall pageant gravity? Ask the anchorite why she works, go ahead, ask her.
In 1937 a gourd was dipped in a high Sierra lake and transported to Badwater, Death Valley. On the side of a bank in Lone Pine, mural it: Wedding of the Waters. Head it all to the pass where it’s not so history, pilgrim. Gather shy alpine sedum, armfuls of falling. Away to break into this world.
Conness Creek, Yosemite
Press the body of snow into the body
of melt till a roadbed foams with poppies
Whitewater Brown toad
smaller than a large toe but not pebble not
stone in the stream’s waterclock
houring granite heat
Flow a syllabary even if the river’s underground
the watershed a dark
attending of lapped fields
Not yet larkspur being early but
shieldleaf threading earthshine to bells
The goldgreen startle
of barely hearing (lean into the cradle)
what jaspers the beads spark witness
Mary Cisper is a recent transplant from New Mexico to the Bay Area where she is pursuing an MFA in poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California. Her work has previously appeared in Field, Lana Turner, Newfound, 1110, and South Dakota Review, among other places.
Read poetry by Mary Cisper previously appearing in Terrain.orgIssue 23 and Issue 26.