what wilderness wakes outside your window,
shakes you limp between its teeth? what world
wanders from you, roils and bends beneath you,
sends you to cracked stone, leeched soil, warns
with sun unrelenting? all of it
unrelenting. whose hands spill the bitter water,
tally up the dead? what watches, each night,
numbers rising? what, wild
with fear, breaks in you?
and what water washes?
Come, mercy quenching.
no uplift no welling
no spring blossom
swelling no shade no sleep
no home no home no
bowshot long enough
no ships come in no light
that isn’t breaking
no watchful eye all blistered
sky all cry all cry—no answer
this mercy no mirage,
this mercy quenching.
I wake in worry. Tell me we aren’t lost. Read me that list I see when I look at sky:
Burrowing Owl, Whooping Crane, Greater Sage-Grouse. Did you know that in a storm, songbirds drop like stones, tremble against the earth? I wake worrying where I’ve walked. Spotted Owl, Sprague’s Pipit, Northern Curlew. Listen. Listen if you can.
The whole world wanders beneath me, the ancient lakebed, the miracle of current.
I wake believing ghosts. Come walk with me in the old grass. Let’s wander the waves,
wind in our faces. Listen—could hope simply be a radical stance of attention?
Plover, Tern, Warbler, Thrush, Swallow. Huddle in the grass. Wait out the storm.
I wake to wild world and wander: a miraculous listening.
oh uplift oh welling
oh furtive hope
swelling oh truth
oh grace oh heaven
unfurling all seen
and knowing all
all deep sadness
heard and held
in water springing
move out your palm on the new green
tendrils of sedge and hair grass—
reach for well. do you understand
what you are reading? your hands
in wet mud slipping, your hands
deep in the current. rise from river
to wilderness ever-waking—but still,
see, spill sweet water
like a miracle: