>Winter Fires

The hills in the distance
are eggplant and somber
heavy outlines separating
the sky and valley
like divisions of life
and their smooth testimony
harbors a silent ache
created by inches
and terrific pressures
in a time of inherited archetypes

And this young valley
is an ancient ocean
I live at the bottom
where the grass is greenest
and sometimes I am
below the grass, below the roots
deep, deep in the difficult clay
that is my life

In the mornings
I find my way
by the belt of Orion
and the cats
on neighborhood lawns
at times
when Winter makes the ridges bleak
I feel the Senate at my back
but I am no Fabius
and these fires are all my own

There is a river
that runs like an eel
down the guts of the valley
but no matter that it keeps moving
the river never takes away
any sorrows

The water along the bank
is almost invisible
except for the sheerest gleam of sky
like fire leaping
above the dark browns and ocres
of the river’s edge

and even here
the infinite calls me
to empty visions
waiting to be filled
with new flesh and new bone
to hollow figures
waiting for a finer blood
and a purer light
a change so complete
one is carved through
and left for dead
along the quiet fire of the river

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