Will

Does the wood pigeon know?

when he calls his coo into the night

the cats who stalk will slink toward

the smell of blood and feathers

as I have gathered myself into quills

and spices sealed in alabaster jar

the sum of me is traveled

through moon and sun

like a cut orange leaves her

stain on wood, sticky and bitter

as your imprint has become

my mandala and the furtherance of us

defies life and death

shaking itself off like a dog released from bath

will hurtle, maddened, toward nearest escape

I grew my vines in your wood

my embers are your fire

this melange of you and I

twined like grapes gathering sunlight

before first frost

and the women take in the clothes, hanging on frozen line

even as they capture the day’s warmth

you stretch in this paper thin life time

sew the jagged edges of my need

with your ivory needle

as if we were part of the same

garment

held up

by

sheer

force of

will

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Full circle

Princess

My neighbors and I played down by the two deep ponds, circled by hedges

warnings unheeded, crashing through nettles into leach infested waters

our Gallic faces screaming in delight at frog spawn and plump lily pads

one sister, a redhead with gap-tooth grin, the other darker, like late season honey

who knew then? Among the crags of the Pyrénées-Orientales, with their Catalan tongues

we’d split and divide like wheat, losing touch, floundering each, to find our way

as kids, our favorite game was building tepees, wearing feathered headdresses

many years later, sitting in a park in Ontario, I met an Ojibwe mistreated by the state

we sat beneath banners and he told me his Algonquian speaking father was full blood

how his people killed their Inuit neighbors and lost their totem in broken alliances

from this he said, they learned, honesty is the only worth a man possesses

his mother was a French migrant, from Perpignan, on the Spanish border

the very same town I first learned to dance, to make it rain, or so I pretended

I wondered, if somehow fate had flung herself in strange arrowed pathways

all leading back to tepees and kind men, who felt mercy without recompense

since I left and became an immigrant, the gentlest souls I have met, carried

Native American blood in their full cheeks and mercy in their hearts

reminding me of daubing my own face with white stripes and how

we never had cowboys or guns in our games, just long striped feathers

and the goodness of children.

 

(For B, Mark, Jean, Crystal, Lane & Jack, who carry the blood and make it count).