When aspens shiver in the dark
I understand myself.
When water tumbles over itself
under starlight, I grow in me

a second wing so I can see her:
sister, small in our father’s garden
taking her time with salted snails
and desert sage. When fog-moon

rises, I want to walk back
into that walled paradise, turn into
the girl I was to tell her a story
in birdsong. I know how

to call out in the marble dawn
like a Steller’s Jay, afraid
of my own longing. I believe
in the river, revising,

and the mountain trickster
with its hidden penstemon, blooming
in the center of a canyon drought.
For her, I’ve learned to bow

without bowing. I hold thistles
in my hips for her, stand still
and strong against the ordinary
animal devouring us both.


Photo used under CC.