The ear that hears wind chatter in cedar
woods listens also to the earth curve
beneath your feet. It holds you in place
as you move through a spinning world.
Look up in mid-June and see the icy
anvil of cumulonimbus drift, look down
and see a storm forecast in clumps
of velvet grass, look ahead at ruffles
along a colt’s mane: motion within
motion with only a maze of hair cells
to keep you steady, reading what eye
and skin notice. Now the deerbrush
dances where a swallowtail lands.
Now your wife’s breath touches
your cheek in passing as you walk
uphill together, leaning into the steep
slope that years seem to lengthen,
and from the corner of your eye comes
a zigzag flash of blue wing. It leaves
behind a soft song, equal parts fear
and delight, that is almost sweet
enough to knock you off your feet.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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