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.


Having fallen

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.

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