|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.