i. a scar in the soil
i find a scar in the soil,
planted there by a forgotten people.
it grows, absence revealing. excavating burial grounds
and the dull metal of hatchets and plows.
a slow cry rips apart the air.
i find stitches criss-crossing the field,
haphazard leylines of flax and cotton.
the world careens into the thicket of a cloud.
air grows cold, crochet blankets and sweaters remembering seasons past.
a blue dress over my clothes.
in our sleep, we spin silk from the dust under our pillows.
we embroider mountains and moon maps and craters.
lunaria on the threshold.
a slit in the tent, its fabric
woven of something like water.
gold thread on violet plume.
a spirit with no head and many arms approaches,
bearing a gift. though it has no head
it wears a crown.
the spirit carries things wreathed in fog,
its eyes hidden in the iris cloud of its body.
it is sometimes dangerous to offer a gift.
to give is to open a hole in one's self.
generosity glimmers like opulence,
a pauper's trove.
i seek a medicine for these holes in the ground -
not to close the wounds, but only to relieve the pain,
to suture with bridges.
the earth still bares its bones at us.
the precipice, our familiar.
silver pods, brimming with seeds,
brushing against my wrists.
they are both coin and purse.
something faceless like the moon, mask-maker.
i too can make very small tides.
iii. high tide in fall
the clouds shed their skin on waterlogged roots.
i carefully burn the past, memorializing floodwaters.
my fingers sticky with sumac.
up there is the spirit of the rooftops and crooked antennae.
verse on the airwaves, tangled lianas of static.
i witness rituals of the coldening air.
goldenrod swallow me into the meadow,
by the weary grove bards.
they drop their leaves for me.
i weave them into a canvas.
i sew a jacket.
i draw a map.
iv. blue lodge
the starry canvas still hangs on my wall -
constellations of broken pots and laurel leaves.
water running under rubble.
the crumbling crest of a hill,
rotting trunks of trees,
weeping polypores ensconced in fog.
a scar splits the field into symbols.
i still search for the entrance of the blue lodge,
a rivulet of liquid amber.
gold and amethyst curtains billowing.
strange gods of dream vapor.
v.a trail of bells
the cape air grows cold, mugwort roots hardening.
i wear a blanket of coastal fragments -
sandstone and shell and weathered down bottle glass.
i spin thread from the dust in the corners of my room.
islands chipped from the chasm walls,
colorful strata, ground for cairns and chiseled monoliths.
hairs on my wrist stand like reeds.
a needle in the hand, ink in the well,
travelling markmaker in the undergrowth.
when i am old i will carry a wooden stick.
sunlight streams in at the edges of the frame,
of the thistle field.
someone left a trail of bells on the trees.
vi. the mothering of autumn
the fog is medicine.
lower your hands into the water glyphs,
the iridescence. take your droplets
up the ramshackle coast.
you carry an archive upon your back,
a trove of beetle shells and walnut hulls.
you stretch out your elytra.
the yellow crest of the hill looks down with its austere kindness,
the mothering of autumn.
push hard against the millstone.
moon maps. craters, poetics,
embroidered forms in the margins.
i don a coastal hymn.
the sky blooms thick with rainwater
and protean breath.
the soil drinks in wet air,
melting scars into liquid glass.
trails of paper through pylons,
rotten wood clouded by asters,
a landscape dotted with glimmers of rainslick
and broken glass. i trace the same pathways over and over.
caverns and highways connecting distant shrines,
clarion through the static.
a weary band of druids on the road.
a downpour's schism pulls the soil apart,
uncovering strata of calcite and enamel,
shreds of a rusted cistern.
artifacts surface through the walls of a precipice.
i. hesperia in fall
shadows of a rusted tesseract stretch over the grass,
past half-polished monoliths teeming with lichen.
the stone splits into a memorial.
a youthful spirit wanders in the thistles,
conjured by petroglyphs.
a slow-decaying lattice holds up the arms of trees,
leeching pollen into the soil.
take golden steps along the arc.
she emerges from the cavern into a grove,
emerges from the grove into a sun-drenched field,
scattered with circular windows.
she walks a path of weathered railroad ties.
a pair of cars rusted together, headlights seeming to flicker
in the afternoon sun,
bound up by the roots of an old sycamore.
loosestrife and goldenrod embroider the empty spaces.
by the wall, a drip of sunflower oil.
an unsteady house undulates in the wind.
the garden is bright and wide,
its roses trained perfectly along the trellises.
the fissures in the amphitheater are sutured with mortar.
a woman kneels on the dry floor of the swimming pool,
laying tile, interpolating contour maps of mosaic.
she pulls up mugwort from the cracks.
she feels some guilt in the act of restoration,
is she not destroying the ruins she once knew?
the encroaching woodlands at the edges of the promenade are gone,
the empty spaces in the columns are gone,
the rust blooms on the filigree temple are gone.
perhaps she had not fallen in love
with the image of bounty conjured by the ruins
as much with the ruins themselves.
iii. revisiting the archipelago
cloak in grapevines and the notches between stones.
i run my fingers along the old wall,
wet with moss, encoded pages of liverwort.
this is how light becomes solid in water.
bounding footfalls echo across boulders,
causeways laid by the ancient sycamores in their youth.
we tread on rooftops.
carriage roads stitch through the stream bed.
we find our salvage in the grottoes and rivulets,
unbalanced cairns in the shadow of a hand.
spirit surveys protean archipelago.
we pass through spiderhome, geometer of the threads.
memory is a substance of this place.
iv. back north
it all rushes back,
passing three trees crowning over the ditch of asters.
memories catasterize. cairns here thick
like thistle blooms, towering against familiar canopies.
they still stand in my absence.
river flows by wooden vessels,
spacecraft powered by runes of glass and metal keyhole.
larch needles not quite yellow.
rough-deckled paper stacked by the window,
flaking white paint and philodendron.
my body becomes spirit, lost in billows of fabric.
i have been here before
v. beyond the flower farm
wandering waters, a cask of swamp wine.
wet roots beneath the weeds.
we give thanks to the hickory matriarch.
the field is bountiful, moths and bees between the squash blossoms.
goldenrod staff holds up the sun.
we trade stories of smell memory,
the taste of smoke and rain on the air.
we search the branches for tea leaves.
i count landmarks on the leaves of a horse chestnut -
husked-out ruins and crystal ball, basil gone to seed,
hull spines and filigree windowframes.
the congregation sleeps in a nest of larch paper.
maps and mile markers, dalliances left in radio static.
i have been here before.
the petroglyph has been lost to the lichen,
and ripples of a northbound train.
somewhere a lighthouse flickers like mica.
wind shakes jasmine from the trellis, casting a spell of forgetting.
i scratch my name on the sundial.
i. arrival at the quarry
i climb the towers of the old iron mine,
stone fitted on crumbling seams.
a structure curved like moon towers.
arches recede into the furnace.
the earth coughs up mossy schism,
a craggy orifice
leaking cold air.
the high is momentary,
skimming across the river's surface.
ii. chasm wine
boulder-crags climb towards a daylit moon,
rubble of ancient industry.
the chasms are spanned by bittersweet and woody grapevines.
sumac horns peer over the canopy -
red beacons for wind spirits.
the markings on the stone are footsteps
of a spider god. the untended vineyard sprawls
unbounded along the crater's ridge,
turned sweet by the coldening air.
the granite holds ink deep within.
toss a sigil into the chasm,
a blessing of the void.
meditate on severance.
nestled in the clade of stone,
cliffside cleft of granite and lichen,
i move ever upward.
the path winds corkscrew through rocky margins.
twisted pines cling to the edge of a weathered monolith,
a marker of the giants' enclave.
i watch my shadow dance across the meadow.
sumac and steeple-climb,
ancient dryad cloaked in vines.
we weave our blankets for the autumn.
iv. stonecutter's remnants
carve deep ridges, fell a valley song.
memories of glacial swoon.
covers hit the ground like leaves,
plates slipping apart beneath the soil.
a poem for the equinox etched in lignin and quartzite.
to ink the strata of a broken ravine, a still life of glass eyes,
a trickling sun over the canopy.
offerings come only as fragments.
some ancient fervor slipped out
through the cracks of a forgotten vineyard,
through filigree undergrowth.
to fill three windows.
v. crossing the petrified woods
scraped-up palms catch a breath of kind air,
ekstasis from the north.
draw a map of mythos and henge sculptors.
the color of stone weighs heavy on my brow,
the weight of severance from a rhizal field.
with gracious parlance i am one of many again.
etchings on glass trace a buoy's passage,
the flecks and eddies of a circuitous journey.
i set to drying juniper and mint on my window sill.
i dwell in the feeble moments.
ten thousand bee stings open up a chasm in the ground,
a great unveiling, a staggered exhalation.
the earth sets forth a humble inheritance.
vi. scythe wind
i harvest amid sundered stone,
sun cutting low through birch and poplar.
the winnower slips through bone.
sigils scrawled on a broken car door,
yellow and rust-rimmed.
a current of cold air beneath the henge.
it carries an ode to the shattering of marble columns,
the smelting down of prison bars and dropped shells.
the cradle is a crucible.