Who is to say what a tree remembers?
Twisted and bent, dying limbs
trailing skeins of lichen;
in a mockery
of protracted death throes.
A perch, a home, a hollow
for generations of matching
scolding squirrels to stash their loot,
to stealthily tuck their transient
Who is to say?
That woman walks
down the road of
stone cobbles, her soul
split in two. One
wanders the past,
stalks the present.
The lament of sore feet
of the journey gone: bunions
have no tales to tell.
That woman’s past
comes face to face with
a stranger; her present
with a man she knows,
but all too well.
She weeps silent tears.
She knows no sorrow.
They natter as I slide by, a flock
bickering in the crepuscular light.
There are no gifts that come with this dawn.
No hive mind for these feather-heads,
grey with edges dipped
in the hot blood of baptism, just
a subtle gift of words, a susurrus
rising in strange, muttered currents
to fling blame back and forth
for the eviscerated mounds of crushed
rowan berries. Torn fruit-flesh lines the streets,
the sidewalks, the barrows of grimy snow:
a compote to spice the repast
of January’s shivering child.
The Waxing Moon was a thin book, well-worn and poorly bound, spine inexpertly repaired with tape. After school, sheltered by the stacks of the public library, the children secretly read spells from the book, never daring to borrow it. It was full of mysteries: spells that disappeared warts with knotted red string and dripping eaves; how to become invisible by placing amethyst under the tongue; stranger things involving cat bones. One day, the book was gone, and I always wondered which one of us had taken it. I'm pretty sure it wasn't me.
Take my hand, and we'll find our way home on this star-lit night
Sometimes the night stills, hardens, and the tight stars choke and fall to flat earth, dead embers. The sky is no longer black, dim gray.
Coyote's sadness is deeper than hope.
She snuffs at dead stars amazed, confused, wants to put them back, cannot reach that high, to the dim flat sky. They won't burn again.
This beautiful, sad poem was written by Christopher in response to my poem Without memorial. It was too lovely to remain buried in the comments, so I put it here on my windowsill, where the sunlight may fall across the words to heal Coyote's grief.