Nellie Hill



                        for Dolores Borgir


Grasses, once again the color of burnt sugar,

wave in the wind like arms of the dead,

slender and voiceless, dreamy

with premonitions of music.


Among the oaks brown birds

with one-note cheeps hop

into the manzanita, coyote bush,

hot shrubs


while along the roadside thistles

and mint nod to the new season.

Rattlesnake grass grows quietly,

daisies bow to the changed air.


I walk the roads remembering

layers of feeling, those sounds

she brought forth

from the music.


I take the word lavender
and smell the color and put it
into my pocket.

Purple fields
extend for miles
like thin-skinned upturned palms.
Someone opens a hand to me
full of sky.

I follow the expanse
back to my own vision
and almost see the word
I'd imagined for this sight.
Yet I return to the field
to ask where, just to be certain.

A dog follows,
nose at my heels.
When I stop and say sit,
the dog sits.
The dog takes my word
and waits, the dog
takes the word for granted.

Nellie Hill’s work has appeared in various journals including Poetry East, American Writing, American Poetry Review, with an introduction of her by Denise Levertov, Harvard Magazine, Commonweal, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Snowy Egret, The Naugatuk River Review,  and in three chapbooks, the  most recent of which is My Daily Walk (Pudding House). Poems online have appeared in Innisfree and New Millenium



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