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XII: Nest

Somehow certain of divinity
she kneels at several spots along the trail

Clutching a thankfulness
usually reserved for widowed sisters,
the hushed unborn,
and the newly wicked.

Climbing onto familiar limbs
she straddles branches
at first perpendicular
and then settles into her own nest of faith.

The snapping of twigs below
fails to wake the maiden in repose
drawn into deafness
by the temptation of belief.

Sacrifice

Votive

There’s no way to measure
the length of the blade
by studying the scar

even in braille

but mother
is quick to remind us

self-sacrifice
is always
self serving

Trinity

Trinity

Inspiration is rarely
divined
among the birches

or dogwoods
or gods

It crawls into the circulatory system
of creation
like bishop’s weed

You wake
splayed
gasping

then weep
and pray

groping not for
imagination’s
shallow bloodied roots
but for the
anchoring embrace
of memory

Half Past Nine


Sturdy wingless enviable women
recite their mother’s recipes
and weave in and out of time
without coy over the shoulder glances

Their private worry claws at the earth
not the skies

Still

The days tick by unconcerned

Virtues

VII: Upright

Virtue with its willowy reach
pulls as counterweight
against the stubborn willfulness of want

Equal in mass
to the burden
of imagined sin

its heights are far-heralded
solely for being easier to see

Stones

Trees and stones
will teach you
that which you can never learn
from masters.

—Saint Bernard

Inception

I: Trees

A brittle stump

cleaved from its
scribbled roots
topples over

with some relief
onto its cushioned mossy side

No longer recording
the earth’s whispered memoir
it rolls backward up a hill
into a soul
and an invisible child
is unknowingly conceived
outside of the mother’s body

As a curiosity
it is both gospel
and invention
an introduction and epilogue