October 29, 2004
—Katy Brown, Davis
My mother’s face is on the shadowed moon tonight.
Thirteen years after laying her to rest, she come—
rising on the golden spher—
drifting above a dark skyline on the near-full surface.
Distant now as she was in life, she watches:
a petroglyph drawn with indirect light on the airless moon,
her enigmatic gaze neither warm nor harsh.
What calls her to this autumn sky tonight?
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
That morning on our ridge, the wind
said Winter, said bundle
yourself up and hunker down. But
then, new voices joined in,
harsh, high above and coming closer; sky-
bagpipes rolling their hoarse,
boreal r's overhead. Sandhill Cranes
darker than intermittent clouds
they passed through. Distant
thunder, a throat-rattle in advancing
chorus—not a chorus—
disconnected singers, each one
for itself. No neat V-skein, a complex
weave of higher, lower flight
as each bird caught its thermal; up-
stroke and glide on the way
south. Guiding on what? Dead stars?
Behind them, magnetic north.
Two and a half million
years of crane history. Leaving us
behind to our silence. Seeking
Bearing their faith on their wings.
BREAKING THE CHILDREN
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Breaking the children like dreams
As if events have never happened.
I have never held you like this.
You have never said I love you.
And the ships storm away
From the harbor, purple waves
Throwing scarves toward the shore.
We are nowhere. Look around you.
The cool air of understanding
Touches our secret places.
We laugh as if it is a stimulation
To our own understanding, but we
No longer understand.
Look again, we are still upon the shore.
Then, you are sailing away. The sky is
Telling you this is very wrong.
We try to tell you that we still love you.
THE LITTLE SPARK
They are spirit lights caught
In an earth song, rocking
Themselves to sleep.
Ahh, sleep, like a temple
For the old moon to meet
The new, beyond the breakers,
Pulling the waves toward the
Shoreline, pretending they are lovers
Who have never met before.
They are every evening.
Still they are new and hook their arms
Chasing one another up and down
Ahh, they are children then?
No, they are the old ones
Who spoke when the the seas were new
And are still able to speak,
Like breathing through all their rhyme,
The garments given them by time
Larger than we can ever see in our climates.
These lights float upon
Our eyes. We do not know
If anything is happening except
I can touch you here and there.
You too are gone back into
The cliffs and rivers so quickly
That I can no longer say your
Name, nor you mine.
I have been here forever. You have
Simply arrived at my door.
I can still reach out and hold
You but I am unable to explain
Anything you say at all. There is
No language with which to speak.
I will try this phrase
And will hope to make a
Garment of it.
I love you.
My entire garment dissolves.
I will attempt to ply these words
Together so they may find, in you
Be an atrion and spilling frogh
Sparsapr tooling de beet rig smell
Chadon, Charmell unlift itself
Brean. I left your deeftly lyre,
So I know how you understand
Completely and we may feel this force
Inside as moving all of language
To worlds we have only been able to imagine.
EGO RELEASED LE ROY
—Michael Cluff, Highland
Lending you so much power
over me is provident
more for you
since I dwell
much above you
as all well know.