Poetry

Poetry

Green anole at Middleton Place

As I stood, rooted, winter-locked, my hand
outstretched in southern sun, the lizard leapt
to the branch of my arm as if there was nothing
at all to fear. As if I was the tree he sought,
he rested, weightless, green as grass, pink
throat-fan ballooning with each small breath,
and I felt something ease inside, a sweetness
rising, as he ran, quick as raindrops, up my trunk,
toe pads tickling as he touched, oh so lightly, neck,
cheek, hair, like a blessing, or a prayer.

Even now I wing

It stands in the water stilted
head cocked like a hammer; faster
than the eye it hooks a flash of gray and then
a glimpse of silver quickly swallowed.
I wish the canoe to silence,
hold breath with the day a ruffle
of air and feathers an explosion
into grace and it’s gone a hundred
yards away. I begin the painstaking
task of easing oar and self across
the surface towards this totem an avatar
granting pure life, motion, a reason
to be. It wings forth again in perfect
silence and falls perched on the stillness
that stretches its hand out over
the water down deep into the mud the fish
that are blind to the roots into me where
even now I am winging

with the blue heron.

Washed

     For Carl Trovall

His fingers kiss the crown of my distress,
my tresses gently lingering in his hold
while frankincense makes dizzy unto death.
Newly blanched, the black ewe joins the fold

and what is sin of me is gone, released.
Oh wetly, I am held to this. Delight,
shines the cruciform pose of the priest.
There’s Jesus in his hands. The water’s white.



The sailing

My mother lifts her blue-veined
   hand, “I’m ready to go.”
       She stares into the white wall,

which billows into a sail.
   Little boat of bones.
       In dream she is carried

by a swift river, wearing
   a red dress. Clear water,
       and I on the bank.

But she doesn’t see me.
   She has become one with motion.
       Even in water she is fire.