N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 0
The Crippled Doe
dreaming as I rounded
the bend, my paddle still:
a wounded doe
the wound, fractured thigh or
muscle torn in wild dodge thru trees
(hunters’ missed shot?)
seeing me, she turned
laid back to listen.
I slowed & gave her room,
yet she did not cross, came up
& hobbled along sand bank
then back into the racing currents,
standing on the shore—
she did not plunge
into cedars & safety, but
in my eyes as I passed, still—
“Alone and scared without her, how do I move on?”
go the gym and work out—sweat & pump endorphins.
swim one hour; rediscover your love of precision strokes.
go to a good action movie & get lost in it.
explore a wilderness or city trail—
do it with friend if possible.
take the ferry to parts of the city new to you—
bring your camera.
go to a concert & shake it with strangers.
hike local parks, up a local mountain if weather permits.
go to museum & learn local native culture,
flora & fauna, history—
study totem poles & learn their codes.
what kinds of canoes did they have? what songs in shared hearts?
go fishing. go camping, kayaking if you can rent a boat cheap.
what poet genius sprang up on these riverbanks?
who shaped the town & made it what it has become?
what legends imbue the place with character?
go to Christian church or Jewish or buddhist temple & observe
what you can learn, listen to the messages.
group meditation or yoga at YMCA if you can.
go take photos or films of local sites and post them on Facebook,
discoveries of the world you inhabit.
Go to homeless shelter and volunteer time.
Go friendly with strangers and share kindness with those in need.
rush hour wreckage smoke & fumes below:
flashing ambulance screams away. beyond,
concrete angels blow trumpets in all directions—
pale moon on eastern horizon. here, orchids cascade
above crown of thorns’ red lips. paper on the desk:
25 Afghan women & children incinerated—
in seat staring out window at clouds,
I look into my empty hands—
think of his face, my own a mirror
thru which I can see him
& in his, the pattern of my being.
I followed his canoe, early evening, he
looking back as I swam my first long half-mile
as he later followed me up Bright Angel.
sorrow we both contained, how many tears,
madness we passed
& left, to keep the heart secure.
he was a deliberate hiker thru sage & castled butte,
his camera imaging the mirror of our days:
a fly on yellow cactus flower near walls of vishnu schist,
the son in full stride on switchback below,
the thousand-year handprint in sinagua doorway.
I felt him
near me as I descended the stairs
the falls we had shared roaring beyond—
crowds on the viewing deck
and below me,
tannin foam swirling cloud designs—
he was there
beside me, briefly—
then I was alone, the wind lifting the leaves
the laughter of my grown children
coming up behind me.
my mother disappeared
in swirling waves
when children & friends
poured her ashes
into the river near her old
my sister reached into the bag
& scattered the last ashes
across the water, slapped
her hands together,
dust flying out: wild rose
on the high bank beyond
Out the door
float in the breeze:
are finally done,
days unravel in
with trillium &
Gulf Spill Curse
dead spirit curses
us still. may the
after fish & fowl
die & local folk
close shop in tears
in the bloody
sit on their porch watching
into the night, the stars
winking above, the long work
done. what songs must they
be singing around campfires
& hearths, over stoves
as friends come to sit,
on the other side of the world?
For Antler, after the storm
after whiteouts & deep freeze, the moon hangs silently above mounds & river,
currents move beneath ice jams & broken trunks, mad traffic racing beyond—
spirit an old woman to sundown, last ripples before the moon, still mirror
where faces stare back in the dark: for the poet has paused to sing the last
elegiac lullaby for she who bore him to this life, his hand tenderly pulling aside
aging tresses that she might see the clear day. the silent hours pass & still he is
beside her in her calm passage, even his poems flown beyond him now,
still in the back pockets of coast-bound boys, in the hands of he who dreams
strike a pose atop
atop Audubon, those racing to the wild shore for succor, attuned to the elder
murmur along the silent path now become Broadway, Manahatta. still
the poet passes the night, pausing only to share sighs with his other side, his
lifelong love who faced down Death & sang to tell the tale. still his hand
clasps his mother’s in Time’s sureness & dreams that once bore flesh,
the childhood song that promises light in shimmering lake & waves—sing
softly in his honor, her honor, under the moon by the great lake’s shore.