The Down and Up of It

descentBetween the building up
and tearing down
there’s a canyon thin
as laurel leaf
wide as Turtle Island

I used to flail in the gorge
nearly drowning in dark waters
cracking my pretty head on rocks
collecting bruises like bees gather pollen

Then I learned to leap across
or build a skinny bridge–
a fast but dishonest way

So I relinquished shortcuts
and learned the down and up of it
and joined the ancient apprenticeship
of descent and ascent

hopping boulders like some
drunken wizard of the mountain
jackrabbit of all shades, master of sun

I’ve lost track of how many times
a day I carry water between
my letting go and claiming–
thirsty in equal measures

But sit here satiated on lichened stone
walking between the horizons
of all my risings and settings

The puddle’s muddy,
and sometimes the muddle’s puddy,
but the surface is a mirror
that doesn’t lie, reflecting

a sun that’s ripe for plucking
like an unlikely winter plum
drifting like a scent in the wind
and a moon that’s always sliding out
from between her prison bars
ever flowing her unfolding

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