Archive for Say This Prayer into the Past


This is the season of sourgrass,
shy, lovely, beside the driveway.
Hanna gathers the stalks in her arms
like so many sheaves of daffodils
across her shoulder, green, gold.

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Proposal in a Modest Meadow

Monkeyflower crowds the foot of a waterfall
(those buttercup faces, up to something),

and a dipper flies the bends of the creek
down to a veil of mountain hemlock.

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Barney Lake Trail

Jeffrey pine hold out their arms
where we begin. They drop their cones
whenever they are good and ready—
and we kick them aside with a little dance.

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White Chief Canyon

A steep climb to the crushed cabin,
rusty litter of mining tools
under the trees, and the creek
in the pasture is rocky and dry.

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This evening we are awash in light.
It buoys the mountains as if they have finally
found their proper medium, their true home,

as if only now the peaks and ridges
and chaparral have come to the surface
and are free to look around, to take in air,
to catch us up in their respiration.

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Dogwood blossoms mount into the sunshine
as if they were creators of light,
as if the air were only blue

because of them, as if the pale
cinnamon of sequoia bark were like
the moon, a borrowed glow.

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Skunk Cabbage

I’ve seen it in the hollows of the Cascades in Oregon,
and head-high on the trail from Juneau up to the Icefield,
there to perplex
the pink mouth of a black bear.

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The summer you were seven
you could hardly sleep
that night before your first recital.
“I’d rather break my arm,” you said.

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A lake lies all alone in its own shape.
It’s not going anywhere.
A lake can wait a long time
for a hiker to come
and camp on its shore.

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