sycamore-oriole240

Sycamore•Oriole (poetry)

Ahsahta Press
Boise State University
Boise, Idaho
1991
56 pages, paperback.
Edited by Dale K. Boyer.

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VESPERS


due South, through a gap
     the Tetons
       jut of hip, full breast
   la grande teton
          I can hear
     the song of flowers   driven inward
deep in the cells   a death without complication
  to the west   smoked broken quartz
    intense peach at the horizon
         floating to pale lavender
      two camprobbers     voop voop voop in for a landing
      strut   squawk   looking for a handout
        adjourn in brisk jay fashion to the east
   Abiathar and The Thunderer
         stained deep indigo
  Venus appears
       in the crack
    between sundown and moonrise
  a coyote yips
     and his younger brother reports
       deliberate     on the breaths     a meditation
           in a week
            I could break that code
an elk from another planet
        bugles for his mate
     and the wind comes up
        as the moon
         pokes its dome over the mountains
   by now      above me
the Bear rides low in the sky
       looking for a place to hibernate
    the Hunting Dogs yapping at his heels
         Mizar his eye
            at the bend of the Dipper
       and Alcor, its companion
                  barely visible
   (the “human beings” knew them as
      the Horse and Rider)
   the diamond of Delphinus
             forms Jacob’s Coffin
     Aldeberan
         the Bull’s eye
   Cygnus
      hangs there as the Northern Cross

     These designs—
        mariners and shepherds
             what else to do
         with their time at night?
a shooting star   another
       and a third
           so close I expect to hear it
        then a small bright object
           steadily across the sky—
              a satellite
     you can tell the time by
As the stars loom closer
        an electric hum
                like distant crows
   I am falling up to
     a huge necropolis
             lit by torches
  my breath     swarms the moonlight
      and I start to chant:
I do not presume to come to this
      Thy table, Mother
         without my knife in my boot
   I must make my choice
      before the wall of ice falls away
    If you ask me
      can I identify insanity for you
         I’d have to say
             I’ve explored the mainland
    but my maps might be
           too particular
         like the divine geometry
     you’ve etched on my fingertips
           I travel this new road
                   because I want to
        though I do not feel
     or see where it leads
   let it be
       on this side of the river
     let the snow
with its simple thirst
           take time to invent my fragrance

Painting by Lisa Nankivil for "Obsidian Point" Book Cover

Photos of painting, books and other works by Kathy Greden

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