To Where I Walk
Memory, alone, warming
your shirt, white wind
through like pine, old snow
falling through split rails.
No Stoplights in This County
I grew up in a creaking house,
knew roads by their river names,
winter camped on the Cranberry
and the Little Flagg, they all led to Lake,
and married a man with a .45
and a trunk
full of rods. Driftwood up from snow
lit itself. The night wind held
to let ash rise straight from the heat
of wet popple sticks,
set space to see
the canine stomp,
wolves between trees
in an arc for us.
I'm nodding rod.
He's pacing the .45,
says it might be better
to take the frozen bay next turn.
This year I augured a place for him,
set him down
in these ashes.
Kneeling, and snow falling
as iced-over lilacs.
Though not the one I fished from.
Port Wing, Lake Superior
Wood floret, sour oak, turn of the screw set
in heart downed for board foot,
bar oil thinning
in blue smoke, our arms crossing our faces
from each air further into the lungs
as chain slips then slows into the lemon grain.
Hung-maple under ship bell wick
minnowing the light to fish sheller sulk,
trees tied under the height
of cap gill bower, four arms pushing north at the trunk
leaning south from the light row. Straight
cut and a bevel follow,
blade slowed the day to all night,
to all mayflies
flawing the light
to all night in the black lines of the butterfly
on late Archean stones, to sacrifice, to husk
of the dead notch, to edge
of the blocked clouds
leaving the forest,
to heeled blade bound inside the trees toward otherwise,
to our four arms covered in a graceful silt,
to a beam we've based to till the sky into a kettle
of hepatica, opening to us sending up the red oak,
baby is a kicking in the bark, my body hulling out
in trees downing to a calyx at the root,
chain set to loosing wood stars from the lowest circling walls,
to take them home to Port Wing,
where May waves carried yellow tinder
from our clothes. Lake, you let him hold me there
and this baby in my body grown, you bend us three
into a treble hook, caught in the white and tressing grass
and rising into clouds.
Apple tree, May, my son, a monarch wing-torn
color in the river, a robin under the feeder
is your soul again. Hay clung to your lace
from the ploughman's thrash, it holds a straw
marked and burned to time the living.
The rubble stack rusts letters
from a cast iron door
as the barrens force the owl sounds
Apple tree, May, my son, a monarch wing-torn
color in the river.
A robin under the feeder is your soul again.
Stars like black shapes
of a song you hum,
nearby, a doe arcs her fawn.
North of 29
A little ditch vased now, bergamot,
gayfeather, with a few from the bed,
quick lift and a look under
the boat tarp, home and washing out
our shirts with the sleeves still up,
children on the floor
seeing how far a coin can roll.
Someone at the door?
Spiders backing further
red pine rising out the eaves
to point toward
water falling off.
Strangers on our porch
waiting it out.
You're telling a story
of your mother
and the long green path
she made on Madeline each year,
taking low-ground berries from the bay.
They talk of moving here someday.
Ran the groundstone
the cylinder star-tip
from the stick.
Said the weight
is best measured
by the thin slice.
too much garlic,
find another butcher.
A book with the matter
splayed like a 52 against
the table. Said the old
made it from
from bare silver cans.
Now running along
the outer rings of an old tin,
rubbed sage burred upward
to the hollow,
how much, Father,
do I lift?
As I low down across the schist
and iron ore caught in potential quarry
saw a spirit in a cut of water flowing out
from stones I didn't know, its breath
coming from the rock
through bluejoint fish and watershed
from a mineral trench water-scratched
like a running face I didn't know.
It perched upon an oystered stick,
a birch and visible weapon bent
by shovel hound, attendant to subaltern work,
balanced on that tree, saying,
So... do you think
I'm a good one or a bad one?
From above that cliff or below?
And low I dreamed
that if I slept
within an unmade pit of metallic height
uprising against a drilling heat,
I'd rest my head onto the marsh,
and the rice would flame like prayer wicks,
and all the mineral
that makes this spirit small,
less than a watered pulpwood lace
of child's scissor snow.
I'd walk the bottom of the mine,
still trapped beneath
Penokee quake, mumbling
like an idling stall,
How deep will you go to find me?
To where I walk now you are
holding a stone
beneath the surface of the water
the row moving over it
and under it, the light
your mirrors and ceilings
not divided by so many shadows.
I wanted the water to answer me.
I took its handfuls of sand
from under its waves
to hold something.
What moved in the masts living
is still alive,
seeds passed through the water
are still alive.
That baby out of me
is still, in the tide, they say
a lake suddenly lupine,
gone through a water,
the weight of a child
from one bed
Snow fluted along a County C,
like everywhere I went was with me,
the sky a sound missed in a see,
I tried to look into a snow
lost quickly to my heat.
Where fishline burned into a knot
to place a heart to snow collecting,
I stand you, sand on basalt,
water sticks, white clingstone drops
into the lake whitecapping
from cresting boughs
over brownstone cliffs, a quiet
snow strung branch harp falling
into a fragile water lift.
Snow is here like someone,
like someone turned each shape of it.
Love, but never beyond revision,
the sun need only save the phenomenal,
spinning the cloudless flakes
like dust through the salt-made light
rosined by a church window
where you think of gnats slightly touching water
under the leaves are seeming to repeat themselves
among the cloudless snow
a love sagacious,
atomically scattered, or else kept
silent, a harmed air sent rising in the cold clear is
stopped. We wake, to a shared haze
we wake. Your body wakes elsewhere,
wakes by conditions counterfactual,
sends in each our bodies a slow white limb
of clouds, to a world were it other,
a place you or slightly
kept where two wings are or were
hovering the pond,
this world will end when snowballs reach the sun.
from To Where I Walk
© 2013 Krista Feakes
Publishers & Booksellers
Green River, Vermont
cover art by Caleb Feakes