|Roberta Hill Whiteman [hanksville]|
from Roberta Hill Whiteman's Star Quilt:
We learn too late the useless way light leaves
footprints of its own. We traveled miles to Kilgore
in the submarine closeness of a car. Sand hills
recalling the sea. A coyote slipped across the road
before we knew. Night, the first skin around him.
He was coming from the river
where laughter calls out fish. Quietly a heavy wind
breaks against cedar. He doubled back,
curious, to meet the humming moons we rode
in this gully, without grass or stars. Our footprints
were foreign to him. He understood the light
and paused before the right front wheel, a shadow
of the mineral earth, pine air in his fur.
Such dogs avoid our eyes, yet he recognized and held
my gaze. A being both so terrible and shy
it made my blood desperate
for the space he lived in:
broad water cutting terraced canyons,
and ice gleaming under hawthorne like a floor of scales.
Thick river, remember we were light thanking light,
slow music rising. Trees perhaps, or my own voice
out of tune. I danced a human claim for him
in this gully. No stars. He slipped
by us, old as breath, moving in the rushing dark
like moonlight through tamarack,
wave on wave of unknown country.
Crazed, I can’t get close enough
to this tumble wild and tangled miracle.
Night is the first skin around me.