The Arrangement of Things

IMG_6707What hand arranged it
that they—mere weeks from cracking eggs
open upon a wild world—
must fling their feathered selves over
jagged cliff
hungry jaws
rough arctic sea

with mother’s urging
adrenaline surging
a first commandment:
do or die
and two silent hopes upon their beaks:
that their unused wings may catch some wind
and that wind shall have some beating heart?

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Diaphanous Thread

IMG_5848sometimes it’s only when
you take a walk with death
that you discover
that sacred diaphanous thread
connecting
your caked mud feet
and the golden sun

the only map you need

And looking back to survey
the territory
with its obsidian shards
and dusty
evidence of a battle
now clearly seen
with the eyes of an eagle
and the heart of a mountain
you realize the thread
is you
and has always been there

Desert Vows

Inyo_Mountain_WildernessThe ceremony really begins
when tears
of remorse
fall into the desert dust

like a long-awaited thunderstorm
releasing all the heavy, old stories

and ends with tears
of joy
swelling like the waxing moon

which is how Life
committing to itself
looks on the face

Why some take a wedding walk
and others a funeral march

is not for humans to know

Anointed with essential oils
and wearing a desert gown
some hold hands with themselves
carrying a bouquet of sagebrush and mormon tea

Anointed with blood and sweat
and wearing a torn mountain cloak
another holds hands with death
and a bouquet of heart-shaped rocks

The Great Inyo sun shines on both
with equal regard
the great witness
to the vows

which are the same for all:

Thou shall not abandon thyself

Do you take this Beloved,
lovely creature of the earth
to have and to hold,
from this day forward,
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
until death do us part?

and with an exchange
known only in the bones
of the land
and the wellspring of the heart

the Yes
is born
once again