Friday, February 6, 2015


Pounding Stone on a High Ridge

The buckeye seeds have slipped out 
of their jackets and rest, smooth,
rock-hard, on wet oak and sycamore leaves.
One sprout in each seed prepares to pierce

through taut skin and claw its way
into humus. Newts plod
over moss and leaves, recoiling 
as we step near them. They blend

with wet leaves so well 
that we have to watch each step.
We stop at a mossy outcrop of rock 
and slide our fingers over slick


red-bud branches, the fan-like leaves
plastering rock and soil. We swear 
the rocks--tolerant of roots, harboring
other creatures, sprouting star moss--

are as significant and mysterious
as ourselves.  In the distance, 
a black phoebe chirps, the steward 
of the confluence of the creeks. 

The people who once ground 
acorns on the flat rocks
by these creeks have vanished,
their descendants building 

Pestles on a Pounding Stone

casinos on nearby reservations.
We honor friends who, fighting
for wildness, have been threatened, 
blackballed, and ruined, and we slowly

build a fortress with these rocks, 
for a moment no longer trespassers, 
our chants protecting the solitude
of the heron, the granaries

of the woodpecker, the ranges
of the newt and bobcat and all the tribes
of trees and flowers, our magic 
gathered from wetness, moss, fallen leaves.

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