Two Questions

#1:

A man
digs a vast, bottomless hole
in a land where,
since the beginning,
 the ground
shakes from time to time
 (the man knows this).
The man
stands gingerly
on the hole’s precipice.
The earth trembles
and the man disappears
into the hole.

 Whose fault is it?
The ground’s,
the hole’s,
or
the
man’s?

#2:

If another man
witnesses
the fall,
but decides
to dig
his own black hole anyway,
and the earth shakes,
or the pipe breaks,
or the seal leaks,
or the lock creaks,
or the bomb drops,
or the time stops,
then when can
we change
the
man?

Sea Change

There is something
bubbling, brewing,

calling blue beneath
the surface,

aching,
stirring.

You are listening
and  ignoring,

ocean’s eager
swells unnerving.

Riptides pulling,
unforgiving.

Paddle fast
against the surging,

or gaze hard at
what is

churning.
If only you could

quench the wondering,
satisfy the tugging song.

Surrender to depths’
endless calling,

you may find
silence

in the dawn.

The Weight of Iron

No way to unharsh the blow
that will fall
 

with the weight of a thousand tunnels
stone and hollow,

darkness swallowed
by the roaring engine,

black smoke trailing endless
into the storm of day.

All is seamless grey,
like a freight,

like a weight,
onward into the night,

while you shock and listen
to the echo of a wail

ripping through this bending
landscape, once untouched,

not so long ago.

Giving Thanks

When you decide to leave the narrow path,
you might inhale as you glimpse the bald eagle
preening in the ancient cottonwood,

or notice the magpie, so common
and breathtaking, black and white on the twisted oak
above the primordial wetlands. 

You will likely sense the humble intention 
of the rock cairn,
and you may crouch down

to build one for love. 
You could count the 61 Canada geese,
tittering and honking in secret code

as you pass through their grounded flock,
hear the whush, whush of wings as they flap low
over golden late Autumn grasslands.

The deer by the fence might catch your eye
at the last moment, leg twisted 180 degrees
between barbed wire and the gate,

body curled into an unlikely backbend
as death arrived, unhurried,  in this quiet field.
You may stare at the bloat and the flies

for longer than usual, at the ice in the pond –
crystalline lily pads almost linked,
but for the this late season warmth,

at the cloud shaped like a woman,
stretched out and  wanting across
the entire range, breast touching

the highest peak before becoming
a salmon, open-mouthed against the airstream
of the white capped valley.  Perhaps you will

amble down a country road, dirt and solitary,
where you are able to close your eyes
for half a minute, zagging and zigging into the pastured

shoulders with your head lifted toward the sun,
your heart aching with gratitude for the morning, these legs,
this breath and body which, for the moment,

are able to take you out into the world,
and for the clouds that cover the sun,
reminding you it is time

to go home.