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All action, it leaps, faster than the eye
can follow, from treetip to trestle tower,
from cedar roof to harvested fields,
cartwheels and spins, leaps again
and attacks, slithering up dead oaks
and dry junipers, captures, holds
close, strangles, suffocates

all mouth in its consumption,
gulping and swallowing entire acres
of sere and withered stalks, the curled
leaves and remnant grasses of autumn,
of drought, gasps, sinks, lifts, continues

dances like no other, soars, swooping
with its many wings, scatters ragged
flames and sparks of confetti in its wake
through the sky, invents sex with the wind
as they fly sun-bound together

bombastic, a spontaneous explosion
in dusty silos of hot sizzling grains

whose Creator is lightning, whose
Giving God is air

hovers, quiet and low on sparse
clearings as if the earth were the best
of keepers, forms brilliant rings
of red-orange, floors of black inside
these circles where ghosts of gremlins
cavort, swaying like smoke

skittish at the lake’s edge, angry
at rivers, averse to frost, hibernates
in flint, lies still among crumpled
papers and oily rags, rises up, a rowdy
resurrection with the first flick

buries itself in warm ashes and coals,
sleeps with one eye open.

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

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