for Rick Hirsch & Michael Roger

In (microscopic) pocks of a
palmsize granite stone
traces of green corn purslane
(snakefat) and piñon fuse
with smeared roots
and beeweed pollen
(ochredust) which drifts
summerlong into the
scalp of a woman kneeling
(intent) and bent over a
lightbitten stone basin
her muscles flexed
trapezius to
triceps the wrist (thick)
working a short
orbital swipe hand-
stone taking
the curve
of palm (cupped)
and her torso’s weight
fallingthrough while
swallows dive and
veer along the sheer
cliff the warm
scabbed heel of her
palm bears down
(heel of palm) onto
and into the skirlingsound
stone merged
with the hand
that grinds it wheel-wise,
the maker (breath-
blown) alive
in her tool (lithe)
flies fussing and
landing her hair
fallen across her
eyes radiantupbeat
leaftrilled and
into this cadence
is inset
the slower cadence
to which
she rocks her baby
when he cries
and all the variable
tempos of her breath,
her body’s measure
countless (breaths)
decibels of fullness
daysutterance and
stress all this
pressed (against basalt),
vesicles into the stone

into the (pocked) stone

goes a rabbit hair
brushed from the hand
that flensed
the hide in late
eyelong afternoon when
red ants pour from
holes in rocky soil
ticking across fluff grass
(square-headed ants) toward
a garden (where three guardian
turkeys are staked
to peck the ((leaf-
eating)) ants)
a minor victory (the garden
greensup) registering
in the eyes
of the woman
who scuffs
stone on stone
in the floodbuckling
blare of violence
and time
that pockets her light
in our (our) light
as the pupil narrows
in its lens and we bend
(kneel almost) in a clearing
to pick up
and weigh the rock
our hand where
milleniums gone
her hand had been
who winks out when
we come clear (to
whom?) on a
weedy hillside
where someone kneels
in the now (even
now) beyond
our (stillflow) looking



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