the sign read. I wanted to go
wanted to be part of,
wanted to survey the lay of the land,
damage caused by flying rocks, soil
erosion. Wanted to help
hold the map shoulder
to shoulder with a man
whose face echoed the terrain.
Wanted to take long strides
across quiet plains, peer
through scopes, watch lines
dissemble, then intersect,
place markers there
between elm and mulberry,
and there next to the birch.
Wanted to determine where
some stranger would stake
a claim, pronounce, This is my land,
while the party moved on,
looking for another good time.
Our future a small, clear globe.
Marbled Godwits, Lesser Yellowlegs,
the Least Sandpiper, Eared Grebe,
Caracara, Hoary Redpoll, Snipe,
Titmouse, Tringa, Whimbrel,
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Vulture.
Fly, glide, swoon through
the darkening, through the peck,
beckon in railroad yards, vacant
lots, swift and sure wings, swift,
pure release. A single, low coo
will do. Nesting in grasslands,
swamp, deluge of cold rain, feathered
in a marsh, eggs in a burrow beneath
the noon, the low swing of the moon,
no less. Soar with deep wingbeats.
My house is on top of a landslide.
Free from sterile anger.
I sit thought-wrapped,
rocks I count one by one,
faces which are not mine.
Ideas of face, not to wear one.
I have met the mice,
fill a plate with water:
they swim. The frogs are shy.
To the spiders, I offer a snack.
The stones are alive.
The subterranenean clock
pulses with my pulse, carved
love. Sculpture of woman
when I emerge, fundamentals
will be the same. I do not dream.
|Jan Strever lives, teaches, and writes in Spokane, Washington. She has been published in numerous literary magazines and is searching for a home for her manuscript, One Foot Planted. She edits the literary journal Kimera: Journal of Fine Writing.