And Not Forgetting Bees
I’m not sure where the sky begins,
where field turns to blue. We thread our way through
bramble grass and briar bush, careful not to walk
with heads pitched too far forward,
a tumble off the cliff only a boot’s step away.
We could be standing on the horizon, hundreds
and hundreds of feet above the valley,
where we are searching for lichen rocks
atop an unnamed cliff, talking about what is
and what is not organic. When does something begin
to change? My brother says it started for him
when they shortened the quarter mile
in drag racing how many years ago.
This startles me, both the leap to racing
and the false measurement, and now I cannot remember
what my own example would have been.
My life is not what it used to be,
and I’m not good at beginnings but I’m learning to trust
the path. The way water follows salt
or a coyote finds entry sometimes into dreams;
or how the land dreams of a king, one with feathers
and who is careful not to use the music
all at once. And when we find the stones growing
with orange, sage green and black lichen,
my brother on his knees, fingers digging,
I’ll think of clover in my front yard,
the rabbits, the blue spruce and the bird bath,
and—not forgetting bees—one new rock for the rain
to water, and realize we can’t take this rock
without taking home the cliff.
Editor’s Note: First person poetry is difficult to do well. It’s easy to alienate the reader with too much un-relatable introspection. This poem demonstrates a perfect balance of vulnerability and storytelling: the images and thoughts reflect a universal experience, despite the personal nature of the poem’s voice.