I’ve been to the desert southwest,
I know how it’s pictured, & I swear
this is that light. What so many
sun-starved souls travel the breadth
of the continent for: that blood-
drenched gold. While down below
in the shadow, all around me
the dooryard birds–Carolina
wren, white-throated sparrow,
cardinal, titmouse, chickadee, junco,
goldfinch & mourning dove–
are wagering every note they have.
The pileated woodpecker uses
the whole cove for a resonator,
a fast rattle of dice on the bone of
a locust. As the light spreads,
every bush & tree on the ridgeside
stands distinct, singing in the dawn wind.
I see roots from underground, shining
tips of feathers. The blue down here
is the color of an ordinary horizon,
a thinness, a spreading of rhizomes
under my skin–the globe-encircling
miles of veins–grown feathery
like the feelers of a night-flying moth.
I can hear what shrews
are up to in their tunnels
& the newborn bears in their dens,
blindly sucking the blue milk
of a huge & dreamless sleep.
My breath tastes like the wood smoke
from my chimney, oak & cherry–now
rising, now running along the ground,
blue, blue . . .