Below Buffalo Willows
Give us a kiss. Goodbye, dear. The buffalo
willows were full of hurt, and then the fire died.
Kiss the neck, the nape, the cheek. Somehow we survive
all the depths of deaths living gifts us. I have cried.
I am not a we, but you are me,
and we are here. Whenever we die. Wherever
we had lived before, with the sheep, the cattle,
all the long grass long as a ribbed rib of sleep.
Yes, there was dust. We slept the animal.
We slipped back and forth many times until
we got it right. The woman the man hoped
to be was scarred. The man she bled, hurt.
Say some touch or other. The way we hold
a hand grieves us tough gusts that beat us
back. A kiss. Give it. Grieve it. Give us a way.
This mouth or that, we are all tick-tonguing
our way around the tree bark of the heart. Say something.
This time. Anything. Nothing would be enough.
We Slept the Animal
(Letters from the American West)
Dos Madres Books