On the Nisqually river.
It’s how it must have been for them,
for those first earth looped men
who would’ve quietly come treading beside
this upstream river ride,
coming close on the great elk herd,
the strong backed stag,
or the steelhead shouldering in,
and always so very sure
of the natural order guiding them there.
But for me it was you and Nisqually blue,
in the way you were lightly stepping on
the spongy ground where
the salient stream of the white water river
can change the earth face it time it takes
for any one man to find his familiar.
It’s just how nature’s sinuous lead
danced to your reed that day.
It’s what I first felt in sudden breeze
raking up through headwater
and turning in the whirl of your desire,
the invisible threads, curling strands,
broadening bands of your certain desire.
And Nisqually room of lodge pole valley
or the puffy cloud cover closing us in,
what keeps out the tug and pull
that always must describe
Down inside red alder and the cottonwood,
the dappled gray brothers of late winter,
and having left the Sure Foots,
the bearded men and quiet women
who kept back beside blazing fire sign,
who stayed just within smokey orange glory
of the emotive, the soulful, the spiral story.
And not really thinking, unless the thought be you.
Just form and flesh of finger tip thinking
brushing me near to where you stood.
Or somehow the bottomless moment
when we touched the close unsayable answers,
and how you felt your way into that day,
just the way you leaned inside
the leasing line of stories that day,
or how it was when the bottom dropped under
by the running river bank, and then you said
“in another life I’ll come back happy
but now I’m scheduled for silent heart-hurt.”
Then the Nisqually blind
when I lost sight and sense of you,
losing your footsteps inside the gray light
and still looking for your lead,
knowing you must be so very close.
Then the sudden nighthawk flying low
and out from under
the sky cup in cloud cover canopy,
and touching and turning where you sat
on the raised river bank’s tree chair.
Rounding your face back to me,
letting me see inside the berry brown forest girl:
so very close inside, still so very close
the highlight feelings lustrous in your lead.
And I couldn’t be that easy,
or not until you showed the shouldering tree,
the burnished bark, the furrowed marks
and the greening dream in nimbus
risen around the lowly yew crown.
It was how he nudged us then,
like an older friend you cannot forget,
telling how the time had come
to let go, to fall in after.
And brightly now the white Nisqually sound
while the wild woman kept on coming
to the surface in your face.
And the river wash, the beating echo
soaking down around valley’s Venus mound,
wetting the long hem of your skirt
as you went from stem to stem,
crossing to, cutting out, coming in,
your instep’s narrow crease in the earth.
Then the quiet, the hover of silence,
the hush inside darker cedar shade
pulling into where you pulled on your lover;
only then the Nisqually mood
when we opened up on the doorway,
giving in on the sibylline,
the raised Mother Rock, the belly boulder,
beneath cedar bough bending,
and gracious ground filling through,
to sweep inside white river spray,
carrying us before the lore,
the higher game in famous secret,
to feel our way back beside
thrown back behind
the Earth Woman’s tidal quake.
Jul/19/2020, 2:53 am
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