On Rising

White rime
on every stick,
on every bough,
like the first light
that illuminates

the downy branches 
of a woman waking,
under a dome so blue 
it’s almost black, 
and behind that,

infinity.
How the whole 
world is remade
beneath a fresh blanket
of snow, how it softens

yesterday’s questions,
and the body blessed
with sweet opening
turns toward
another morning.

Butterflies

All the things I thought
I wanted have flown away
like butterflies, and what lands

upon me now are petals
light as music, the scent
of November clouds before

the coming snow, the echo
of the children in the other
room, making their own

designs, all these passing things,
how they fill the night
with so much generosity,

a heart could float away
like the sea, a borrowed word,
a letter, a lover’s kiss.

These Teachers

I meant to turn back
hours ago,
but the sage,
but the river,
but the evening sun
on my shoulders
and the path
that leads up
and up, the whoosh
of air as it parts
for the sparrow,
the scent
of juniper
arrives
and remains
in a constant
state of arrival,
the sole
of my shoe
leaves an imprint
in the dust, a heart
shaped rock,
and this quiet
prayer that one
does not lose
these earthly
teachers,
but rather,
becomes them.

Brief Walk

For twenty minutes today
I walked in the sunshine
and it was enough,

this body like a rind,
with something sweet inside,
and no less compostable.

I have known love,
the touch of a mouth,
and I too have tasted.

We are not the sum
of what we have been,
nor the story of what

we will be. We are
the wind on skin, the scent
of melting snow turned

to clay, the ears
through which to funnel
birdsong. The horses

walk across the pasture
to meet me. I see something
in their eyes that reminds

me of something old,
or the part of myself
that I have always known.

My eyes are
a many colored screen
on which a life projected

flickers with a song
and then dissolves
to blackness.