Monday, January 5

bark

It's a cold, windy, fresh snow night. Mostly clear sky. Enough moon to radiate off the landscape and cast light into the windows of the house, make strange woodsmoke shadows on the ground. The dogs are restless.

Mandy is old, arthritic, shaggy, cocklebur-matted fur and gray muzzle. She sits on the scavenged couch cushion just outside her house and peers in the direction that Gus indicates with his barking. Gus is young, bristle-furred, longtailed, stretched out and skinny. He stands on the strawbale next to his house and glares through the chain-links of his kennel, barks, jumps and runs back and forth in his narrow space. She should just crawl back in and go to sleep, but pretty soon she'll trudge out through the snow and investigate. Nearsighted, nearly deaf, but it's funny what she'll see or hear. Might be that black shaggy dog from down the road is back again, and she'll chase him, faster than she should be able to move. Maybe it's just a weird piece of snow drift, or the way her voice echoes back like a challenge.

It's hard to tell with dogs.

origin

i stood with my sister
where two fencelines meet
near the top of a low rise
and we discussed
whether we were at or
near the geometric center
of the section.

we could see the houses
of most our neighbors -
each with its driveway
shelterbelt and outbuildings
in varying stages of disrepair

the church on the corner,
its former parsonage next door
now a rental
where a good friend once lived
until he up and moved to colorado.

like many places in this country
the low hills here are gridded out,
a fiction of squares
made imperfectly real
in the roads they built
ditches dug and trees grown old,
creosoted posts and poles,
barbed wire and electric lines.

(raggedly cartesian, maybe
i would rather use polar coordinates:
pick a direction, and tell me
how far you want to go)

snake not biting tail

different, this time
the new year an artificial division,
sure, but natural too after all
we swing around this
great godgifting blaze of
cosmic fire and in our falling,
cycles get to be implicit

it must really be in the marrow of the universe,
not a closed loop but a waveform

and here we are written in blood and bone
turnings figured in the tides and seasons,
sundowns and shifting starlight
gave us birth
the wavefront of all creation

anyhow, last spin around the fireball
things sure got different.