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High Places

It’s a rare trip to the Rockies,
a chance to practice my ascending,
confront my fear of heights.

I find an overlook where I can see
the stained glass lake
reclining, shining, letting
sun and clouds do what they will.

I greet the nodding evergreens.
We agree to share this space,
making no demands.

The mountains and the lake and trees
all have much to say
but they are not the ones
I’ve come to hear.

I wait and listen for the wind,
the wisdom flowing in high places,
voices carrying through the ages
and the swaying branches,

sages sweeping their wide arms
across the surface of the lake,
fingers brushing the worn face
of rock and wood and leaf.

I used to throw my questions like a pair of dice
and wait for lucky revelation,
truth that I could pick up like a pine cone
and take back to my dresser,
next to keys and watch and my ID.

I used to think what mattered
was a message I could fit in my back pocket
that would nag my ass until I got it.

But the mountains and the lake and trees
offered just the simple statement,
that these heights are all perception,
a point of view, a blink, a dream . . .
that any looming truth
was tiny in the chipmunk’s paw.

The sun set and the moon rose.
The mountains and the lake and trees
had no comment,
their silence fluent as the shadows,

and the wind with all the knowing
also held its tongue,
let my questions babble like a childish brook,
continued blowing.


Violets In His Hand

I took a long walk on the beach,
the one from many other dreams.
I knew the sweep of shore,
the chilly sand and waking sea,
the yawning mist,
it’s always morning here.
I walked alone in my bare feet,
the ocean at my side,
my usual purpose leading me—
a rendezvous, an interlude,
a guided meditation.

In previous dreams
it took me to a lover’s arms,
open as a rose in bloom,
warm as dawn.
He always waited,
ready with a kiss, a fire,
a comfort I could hold
and bring up to my lips.

On this beach no stranger’s face,
no usual deity or angel in disguise
reached for me like an answer to a prayer.
I thought I’d been betrayed,
started to accuse the dream,
“Why have you forsaken me?”
then I felt him tug my sleeve.
I recognized his face,
the innocent and hopeful eyes,
the flush of expectation,
a giggle that he seemed embarrassed by.

This was a different dream.
I knew the little boy so well,
knew the man who had forgotten him.
but not the reasons why.
I felt the punch and pinch of grief, of guilt,
assumed how angry he must be
for all those years he’d waited for a friend,
but no cloud covered him.
Only sunlight in his smile,
a welcome wide as morning sky
and violets in his outstretched hand..
I knew they were for me.

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