by Carol Hopkins


I sit on the deck blowing the trees.

Now I’m blowing the hair on this body’s head.

It’s annoying but it’s not exempt from these things that go on.

What’s with the body?

It registers heaven and hell yet it’s just a lot of stuff n bones.

I sit here waiting for an answer and when it comes

I will feel it in the body.

I’ve been told to not identify with the body by a hundred people in a hundred


And yet….there’s something about the body.

I know eventually it will receive the answer to this question and it

will pass it on.





Early morning I hear geese in a blue fog so dense
I doubt the existence of the world below them.

There are mornings I wake to bells
days when I hear a hundred quail together in a congregation of wings.

There are mornings I notice light, how it spreads along the ridge line
falling into the river gorge, breaking down through fir trees
setting fire to wings of insects struggling in white water.

When I forget the sky, there is a loneliness that can strip muscle from bone
but I don’t know that until later.

Eventually the lion lies down with the lamb.
The orphaned monkey is allowed to suckle from a village woman’s breast.

Forgetting mistakes I may have made
see how two empty hands together make both full.



run off water


“Just look over your shoulder.” The Four Tops


There is a ladder leaning against the rim of the world

I like to climb down into another body.

Shunned by the gods of printed books

I am happy standing over a pool of rain water

where the entirety of the  sky is held untouched by mud

in the palm of a open hand.

The miniature sun is there in perfection

and a mockingbird crossing that round sky is shitting

in flight!










What he remembers is not the shock of pain
but waves of breath lifting and carrying him to the hollows of a cedar
where owls cover him with their wings.

He knows now the burgled house unlocks its own doors.
The murdered man solicits his death and pays the killer in advance.
The widower sleeping on his wife’s side of the bed is uncovered there
by the moon.

Everything is a succession of being, always busy becoming
something else.
A glass of water becomes the Pope drop by drop.
The boy remembers this and is comforted.








The holy name can never be spoken.
It disappears from the mouth.
Takes form in the space between syllables
where silence widens, becoming a sky
unto itself.

In that sky
a name too formal to be used is forgotten.
Why call someone who is always here?

Does the husband call his wife to the bridal bed
when she is already there waiting?
When the wife’s mouth is on his
does he stop to ask for a glass of water?








Inside these diamond backed shadows, you are with me

as I am with the river.

Twenty-seven years married, now the night is coming.

The sky is a blue man in a sequin suit falling down on his blue knees by the river.

Under scrub oak trees all the mossy backed chickadees are feasting without a care.

Turning over leaves shaped like hands that close

around seeds as they dry.






“There is a love that will break ribs getting to the heart.”



You harnessed my anger, made me plow in a field of bones.

Taught me not to hear the world’s infected promises
not put my lips too near a dead thing’s mouth
but to kneel
and from my distance, look into the world’s yellow eyes.
See through them there is a light in outer darkness that does not
look away.

Now I stand in front of waterfalls, gutted, reborn in water.
I am here in all this beauty and I am satisfied
with that.



Next moment I am crying. The whole creation is crying.
Pain is not an unwanted child waiting in line for her own abortion.
It is the expected one we wait for all our lives.

To  mend the heart
the surgeon’s knife cuts through walls of bone and muscle

and we are satisfied with that.



We meet on the river road and know each other by our masks.
When a man has nothing left to say, the ghost in him takes over
talking through the hole in his mask, as if  he is alive.

The ghost says
“The blind running with coyotes through fir trees can clearly see
what those with eyes cannot.
The deaf play on blue guitars and sing
while those born with ears and a tongue are forever dumb.
All night long  the cricket patiently rub his legs together!
The living die and the dead dance in circles, dressed in feathers of a fish hawk.”

I say
there is a ghost in me who suffers and enjoys
and I am satisfied with that.



In the end we are like salmon
forced by our blood back to the spawning pool.
We are chinook and coho
cut by volcanic rock in narrow beds of white water streaming blood.
We come home with golden flesh showing through our scales.

Sockeye, steelhead dammed and gill netted, hunted by fish hawks
we are impaled on talons, taken up into fir trees

Beaten beautiful as seven billion Christs stumbling to Golgotha
we all come home the colors of fire.
Following the scent of our Mother’s blood

we fertilize eggs and we die.
The carcass rots.
Young men called barefoot to the river in the heat of day are offended by us
and move on.

I am satisfied with that.



I will die at sunrise with the sky
red as a salmon lying on his side in a bed of coals.
There will be a little wind
just enough to stir the oak leaf curled in the palm of my  right hand.

When I die there will be phlegm in my throat
the left nostril closed to further breath
and the right ear so full of fluid
the sound of breathing is indistinct and vaguely sacred.

Hearing this sound I will enter into one kingdom of silence
and be offered a crown.

The Alone is alone with itself, has always been alone and always will remain
but you can find me here in all this beauty
a blowfly sitting on my head
the color of a sapphire sewn into the crown of a yamaka.

I am satisfied with that.