From The Yosemite Poems
1. A List
greylighted skin of old ponderosa.
streets, roads, alleys, paths, liedownplaces,
inside the tight young
cones, inside bracts, in among
Day's-eye, pregnant milkweed,
asterdance, blue or dried; black oak singing
as the sun plays warm music
on its lighted leaves
Redberry bearscat, polkadot bearscat, log
orange as bearscat, long tree rotting
into groundsoil, black earth
holding the night,
breastfeeding the night,
night in the day's warm soil
feeding on rootsearch, rockbreak, bonerot,
eye and brain and fur rot,
milk of rot and root,
Night nourished and growing
beneath our feet.
2. The Forest of Hands
Hands of the black oak, playing the light.
Hands of the ponderosa, a brush for the wind's voice.
Hands of cedarfroth and alderfeather, hands
of cones fatfingered, sugar and pitchfingered,
thin and brittle brokenfingered;
ham-handed sugar pine cones two feet long.
Tight-fisted cones; fists full of berries; old thistle-fists;
grassy hands; hands full of seeds;
long blue lupine hands testing the air.
Under the earth
old hands in pieces, bones
in the dark dirt.
3. Foresta Creek
The cold grasps me.
It is in me, moving
with me; we are a double creature
contending, we keep even
if I keep moving. Face down, I swim
in soft amber, over sand, mica,
greenish stones, black rocks; under boulders,
through colder shadows. Face up,
I let the current carry me under the alders' green
steps, levels, planes of light. The cold
loves my hair, eats my face, makes sharp
edges in my blood. Face down again
I fight the current, work my shoulders, win
my way to the sun.
On land I am the warm