Monday, May 23, 2016



photo ~ bob arnold 
may 2016

Many Times

There is the absolute way

Of doing it, and we have done it

Many times and again —

How I will come to you

How you will meet me

The early morning sun

Perfect on the bed, and

Stripes in the Mexican blanket

Like blood, the sea, yellow iris petals —

And it is a silly lovers ritual of ours,

I hug you and you hug me and step onto

My boots, and I walk you and me around the

Sunlit room, the sway of patchouli in your hair,

And your face smooth against my lips

Like the inside of your hands

The Skin of Her Neck

Tonight, because her hand is in pain, the small finger

Swollen, yes, I’ll stir the

Batter, although she is better

And first taught me how

Something is done right.

And I came from behind

And smelled the skin of

Her neck, the long blonde

Hairs alive and the blouse

White and rough, tucked into

A thin summer skirt.

Winter, near Christmas,

3 feet of snow and her

Body moves across the

Cabin room with summer,

A clay bowl with

Colored stripes in her

Arms, the fresh heat

Of the flat iron stove.


By the river I found her —

Long and short feathers matted by weeks of rain,

A soft spotted down on her chest,

The whole body twisted in the crotch of an ironwood

This hawk hung and not a right way to die.

Nudged out with my axe handle it fell with no life,

Eyes gone and the rotting smell of blood and grease.

I cut the claws for the first time, others I’ve left —

One talon broken off and the muscular flex of skin

No different than a man’s, except for the ruggedness,

The pale yellow of it, but a companion to my own.

And the tail feathers — still a beautiful tan — pinned

Open for flight on rough pine boards inside our cabin,

I only buried some of her.

The Woodcutter Talks

I’ve got to go pretty soon

So I’ll take my boots off

And shake out the snow,

Sit close to the fire you

Have built, then left for me.

I’m in no hurry until the sun comes up.

My snowshoes need new leather straps

But for now they’ll have to do,

Carry me to the woods where I work

Thinning out the half bowl of a hillside —

That’s what it looks like — and sometimes

I rest and watch it for what it is, with my

Wet gloves off, the clearness above me.


Bob Arnold