The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Leonore Wilson
Are vanishing; take for instance the turtle dove
unable to breed as it once did
principally due to the weed seeds'
diminishment; and the cuckoo
whose calamity continues
as a tide of pesticides skiffles across the fields
the wooly caterpillar
decline . . . .
Try to imagine a world without wood warbler,
flycatcher, wrentit, jay;
no longer a stubborn rustling in the underbrush,
that unfailing pleasing semitone
akin to flickering bereavement and regret.
when our soundscape disappears . . .
what of further loss:
rivers, running water;
and what will be
the demise of skinks, chicory, or
when promised seasons have no boundaries,
begin too early, when wild landscapes shrink
to islands and when
darkness covers light;
will that mean there is no privacy,
and every residence
a nest exposed . . . .
Force and Beauty
If a woman hadn't been out walking her dog, they might never have found the body
among the miner's lettuce and jimson weed, the young nurse
may have lain at the base of the creek invisible to the naked eye for months, years—
unfolded thing becoming a part of the hypothetical West,
her blue-violet flesh cleaving like roots to soil, disappearing into the unconscious season
when lovers wait for the cleansing rains to pass like a row
of low-lying goldfinches over the reborn lavender . . . .
But nothing is quite transparent in these California hills where the mist gathers
and vanishes, where one still finds toothed obsidian flakes,
beads and bones of those long ago who knew the trails exquisitely well,
for here we all walk over burial-grounds without
hesitation or reverence like ravening swine in a slippery mire
knocking down the prevailing trees in our wake, mangling the grasses, branding
everything mine as that girl was branded, the one who had been
stabbed twice through the heart, whose probable killer is still on the loose;
how the blood shudders knowing he looks up and sees the same paternal heaven,
the same cardinal clouds, that he journeys here and there
with the living sun on his back, someone like us created in the likeness of God
defined by his own piercing, his own unbearable shape.
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