“There is a love that will break ribs getting to your 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
Now I stand in front of waterfalls, gutted, reborn in water.
I am here in all this beauty and I am satisfied
Next moment I am crying. The whole creation is crying.
Pain is not an unwanted child waiting in line for her own abortion.
Pain 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.
The ghost speaks through the hole in the 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 rubs his legs together!
The living die and the dead dance in circles, dressed in feathers of a fish hawk.”
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, proud flesh showing gold through the 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 toward Golgotha
we 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 will be 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 a 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.