53

On this hill that sails tamarack woods,
my shoulders are a clove-hitch ache.

Thirst overflows our calves,
we portage the camel bone it’s made
that slowly says, along the way, this
is a rough bowl
hand-sewn by hands
that still would like
to drink.  

Like everything at 53, even the thirst
is heavier, the creek in the palm
of the valley,
as I climb,
overflowing with leaves of air,  
a little stonier, the darkness of it
shouldering creases of light.

Winterless

I am fifty this year,
after Christmas, the late buds
assemble their small hooves
in the wind of the dead season.
The Mennonites with their black horses do not walk
out into the uncovered fields,
or step over their roots tarred in muddy flesh.
We cannot love whom we must,
yet cannot imagine another;
the earth is wrong for this place.