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Poetry

Lord of worn stone cliffs and the guileless trill
         of the canyon wren; Lord of stunted hemlocks,

imperiled mussels, seeds that fall on shallow soil;
         Lord of boreal forests, of the fragile

nitrogen cycle, of vanishing aquifers, spreading
         deserts; Lord of neglect and carelessness,

of greed and depletion, of the doleful cry
         of the violin, of the loon; Lord of ruin

and desperate rescue, of remnant, ragtag,
         making do, you too must want as fiercely

as we do, your world being almost nothing
         but want.

 

Here, twilight breezes traverse the furrows
         to bury all manner of wanton seeds among

our crops; a red-shouldered hawk wheels and
         watches; its shadow wheels and is watched;

a harvest moon, drastically magnified, rises—
         a deception no science has yet explained,

so much here remains beyond us. For ages,
         our kind has studied this earth; we have yet

to discern your purpose. How badly we want
         to believe in your good intentions.

 

For centuries, monks copied scripture in inks
         concocted from hawthorn, salts, and wine.

They lived in vigilance, hidden away, recording
         your hints and evasions; they died

of their times and a heritable briefness. Today,
         no one doubts who owns the heavens:

American drones cross invisibly over
         invisible borders; refugees trudge toward

rumors of air drops. Wide-eyed in the dark hours,
         we children of plenty labor over our lives,

documenting our days in a light we have found
         no way to erase. We want so much not to be

lost sight of. Want, equally, to escape all notice.
         Soon every moonrise will be our last. Lord,

whose name is Everlasting, how can you begin
         to understand?


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