Forest Spirit

Many selves,
a raging fire, a sparkling chasm.
viper slithers to its apogee – the sun –
almost succeeds, almost destroys –
I am justified in brevity, breathing
as I, come face to face,
and so it is – angry souls in each other’s bodies –
while August burns treacherously
in the dry grasses.

Boy leaves tracks. Life trudges.
Brooding, endorsing the searing sun,
Can’t close the seed captured here,
die brother…live sister….
no distress or bitterness or revenge –
merely randomness that
divides itself unmercifully

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Patricide At the Dog Howl Cartoon

Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78

and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.

There is mother
in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.

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Our Danny Petoskey

The anniversary of his death is the cruelest fishhook. Yanking us back, violently. When the days turn crisp, as they have now, when summer fades and autumn crawls into our tiny farming town—that’s when we most grieve our fallen classmate. One year we tried to ignore the date, but the hook came anyway and somehow was even more brutal. So now we meet it head on: we make a day of it. The downtown is strewn with somber-black ribbon. Coffee is shared and then, later, whiskey. We pass the yearbook, we muse, we moan. If a stranger such as you wanders by, the story is told in fullest detail.

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the door, the tornado

that was so big it could hold a thousand hearts racing
at the sight of a face they thought would never show up again
beating down the road like a breathless storm or worse,
finding only the wind’s racket forced into a fist
perfectly rapturous and strange how we’re all picked up
and dropped off at some other threshold. fate and chance
met up this way, plucked and flung in the same gust
like a thousand seeds mingling into entirety.

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agenda

1) keep listing main bankrollers destroying Nature: boycott

2) advocate “ignorance-based world view” a la Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry: elaborate
& celebrate

3) UCS clubs @ colleges and universities designing lively biology curricula pre-K thru PhD:
NO to gene splicing

4) support J. Hagelin proposals: no more cyclotrons

5) meditate on Higgs boson: don’t agitate it

6) separate good science from bad tech

7) unite good joyous science with diverse pagan religions

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February

We only say it correctly when we’re learning to spell it, a hint of brew, this month more soft-spoken than the last, and short – though Valentine roses’ petals fall before ice melts. Oh, some whisper it as a synonym for claustrophobia, closing down or slamming doors so fast that cold lurks abandoned out there where invisibles moan and something smelly hides under the front steps.

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The Red Gate

Can you see us through the gate? the Tutelo ask.

I sprayed it apple red last winter, aerosol in my lungs.
Must be more careful in the time of masks.
But the red. The red! You can see it a quarter mile away, walking up the lane.
Crooked door opening to a wide mossy bed of poplar and walnut.
Shadows bend into each other. Locust limbs rest on the lazy fence.
An old wooden coop, emptied years back by the fox, sits where the home place was.

One hundred years and one thousand acres: apple orchard.
The caretaker’s house, rows of seven sisters’ roses wild and pink still push out
At the spring house. Into the north pasture.
A cemetery of pushed grey stones at the corner.

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Without, Within

Tiny round-faced vaquita porpoises,
dark-eyed mountain gorillas,
intricately striped Sumatran tigers,
so many species disappearing
under greed’s heavy boots
although the loss seems abstract
as we stop at Costco for groceries,
fill up the car before heading home.

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The Furies

Blast! over the last ridge before pasture. The great white sycamore shatters the oriole’s net-nest. An autumn olive catches the fledgling, embraces its beating heart. Singed by relentless summer, hills west waver/duck at the gale.

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