Even birds discuss the day, the qualities
of seed, the failing light around the feeders

and so she moves from window to window

counts and watches like her father beside
that freezing river and wonders what
he really thought, alone there, in that
run-down trailer, pulled into the deepest
woods where roads long failed and only
creatures’ constant padding made
rude tracks.

Did the small boy who rode cows
to pasture in dusty Oklahoma learn
that only creatures may be trusted?

How emptiness expands from spot to
yawning chasm beside a rocky trail?

He told me how he’d climb the rocks
push the cold biscuits deeper into
pockets so as to stave off hunger never
sated so early in the day  nothing to look
forward to but sky and wind   the restless
herd wandering like his wondering about why
his mother left town with the telephone operator
another woman   scandalized the town until
what was left of his father took flight
leaving him perched atop those rocks above
the trail until come nightfall, he could drop
down and hitch a ride unlike where

These rocks seep into me now: their silence
grown tall alongside  no cows
break breathless calm.  The barn leans into Cedar Creek
and only mice remember how wooden beams arose
from scattered hand cut stones.  We push against
the very air, imprints too soon erased like footprints
stepped in water yet they linger: wraiths with voices.

Reincarnations now owl and cat: antitheses of dreams
our very selves now tree and root become again
and yet again.