The white heron stands on stalk legs in the creek,
feeds on sunfish and mussels. The shells
among the stones I gather – chiseled flint,
broken arrows, valved halves picked clean. I am
reading the signs they left, the exiled People
forced to walk the road where many wept.
My home once theirs, this creek where they met
to carve and fish, to weave and laugh.
At the end to grieve. To go to water one last time.
I found a spring just yesterday, small burble
in the shallow water. Thanked God that I would
never thirst again. That out of rock the water bursts.
That stone can talk and water carries messages
from the dead. I know they sent the heron, holy
ghost, the morning that my daughter walked away.
All around me crickets fling themselves in tall grass
teeming with their reedy bodies. They fear my feet.
She fears me too, spreads great white wings like
sails filled with wind. She rises, hovers low along
the stream. Is gone. Gray sorcerer whose robes
turned white because he died and rose again,
gleaming, scalded bare as only bones can be.
to the molten core, where flames lick clean the flesh
and all earth’s dreams. Fallen so far, nothing to do
but rise and rise and love all the things that hurt you.