—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA
in our state of solitary tides delivering tatters of a world unreachable, we gather a wicker basket blue-green floats of bubbled glass nets tangled haywire styrofoam to carve into queens kings castles for a game of chess that never ends, we drift from sunrise to slivering of the moon our path to the salmon run our destination erased daily the sun on course overhead the tsunami line and beyond that point a ghost ship
dark against twilight
three-masted rock at anchor
sailing out of reach
FULL MOON FANCIES
A sloop of amber slips away.
She shuts the book, imagining breakwater,
lighthouse, afterglow of sunset
on the sails. Glistening, leaving ripples
that in the slip of time and space
become a woodland pool. There might
be elves. Ghost-ship of a moon
passes slow across her window.
Once he sent her a postcard from Italy
but it was just another station on his map.
Sun-screen against October’s fire
slanting down the southern sky. It’s cobalt,
that sky. Ravens are the canniest players
calling from the tops of cedars; they forgive
no shortcuts through their woods.
Realize that if I stop, winter overtakes.
Legs, arms are pistons, yet I float on magic
boots. Illusion or metaphor?
They’ve carried me through the months
emptying themselves out;
past the orchard whose blossoms quivered
in spring air; and now the year
bequeaths brandied-apple leaf-fall,
the delectable season making compost
of us all. Wind sweeps memory and footsteps
away. Every whisper’s held to earth,
too heavy to rise. Muffle and haze.
My dog savors the scent of rot
underfoot. My boots fly as if I could.
He found it on the internet, supplanting his
hanker for a pair of rawhide boots: this vision
of vast distances receiving signals that make
the heart drift wandering. He waved $29.95
plus shipping goodbye. And waited, through
the simple circle of each given day. From
across country—like a hospital patient bar-
coded and tracked by an arrogant technology—
it arrived at or near his mailbox beside so
many identical gray boxes and the lockbox
for packages. Locked; no key. Among dirt
and weeds, a plastic tab, the kind attached
to lockbox keys. Oh the penury of loss.
Above his head he
watched sun break the sky open—
no key no bar-code.
HOW I WAITED
You didn’t come. But the oaks
were casting their ballots for fall, leaves
glossy with last night’s rain. My pup and I
walked under comforter clouds, ionic
trill of damp air. He showed me fox scat
red with manzanita berries. Promises
are flimflam. A spokesperson squirrel, brush-
tail erect, jubilated at distress-crop acorns,
faith this rain would cure the drought.
You didn’t come but this was offset
by my puppy trotting ahead on the high trail,
scouting the pasture fence. You weren’t
there. But still, the tingle of air no more at war
with earth, oak woods listening with all
their raindrop ears. October chill.
Beyond the gate, expectation grazed
the grass as sheep do, waiting for more rain.
DARK FALLING FAST
on Dickinson’s XLIII
After rain the clouds were Emily-purple
with a burst of molten gold where sun shot
thru. It would have been a photo of such
bright dashes but I was late and in a hurry
so I couldn’t stop to iPad-click the show.
Emily did it much better in two quatrains,
their dazzle still lingering past the glow.