If they would be enough
been said before. I’m not that clever.
Nor will I try to be. But another jay
won my gaze and an oak limb fell
during the night; a hawk held its own
like a range fence some hare might pass
beneath without snaring a single barb
or flushing a single unnerved wing.
These are the ways of our days, the
immutable rhythms that syncopate
and cadence every beat we step to.
I dreamed a woman handed me a
canvas bag. “Take this,” she said.
“Inside are all the heartbeats you’ll
ever need.” I took it and wondered
if they would be enough, if I would
use them wisely, misspend them,
scatter them about like dropped
irons in a steely unstoked mill.
I dreamt Oregon, too. I was moving
back and was saying: I told myself
I would never leave California, trade
persistent sun for perennial rain, that
drought was a part of life and nothing
should be always evergreen at all times.
But there I was as the cold bit and
the coat snapped, the river snaked and
the slow slopes of the high hills lifted
the trees up to see volcanoes set against
unbreachable blue, salmon sneaking past
just below, the grey grime of winter already
curbed in the empty streets, the ghosts
of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
speeding the great Columbia towards
calamity and fortune, canoes and barrels
filled with suspicion and unbelieving,
my own atoms hesitant and unstable.
This is the way of what we cannot know.
This is the way I came, the way I will have
to go. Like you, the choice merely seems ours.
November 1, 2014