Bullshit Walks

found in a flower
one beetle’s quota of sleep

longhorned to graze
in pastures of white

Clintonia or Solomon’s plume
and soon the black cohosh

looking up i spot a raccoon’s
wide-eyed mask

returning my gaze from the crotch
of a dying hemlock

every day has its dog
on Thursday for a long moment

i walked with a yearling bear
ahead of me on the trail

whose walk is it then
one can only wander

on the steep slope
above the railroad

i find a patch of jacks-in-the-pulpit
that the deer missed

a train hurtles past with blue
containers of stink

our daily delivery of refuse
from the megalopolis

i climb through century-old quarries
rocks shift underfoot

still settling
where mountain holly blooms

the breeze wafts ambrosia
from some reclusive azalea

i pause for breath
a vireo chirps in alarm

i stop for lunch
a hooded warbler scolds

down-trail a second-generation
mourning cloak butterfly

circles its dappled
patch of sun

territory folks defending
their stake in the sticks

while a distant cuckoo
chants her own name

gorging on tent caterpillars
and spotted lanternfly larvae

letting strangers
foster her offspring

this is the background
i can’t include in my shots

whenever i stop to snap photos
of new or bigger plants

how green is my mountain now
with so much CO2 in the air

my ankles brush against
the Aladdin lamps of pale corydalis

rising through the still-tender
hayscented ferns

and a mosquito sinks her rig
right through my hat

the sun may descend into haze
but the light’s still perfect

the mountain’s shadow stretching
across the farm valley to my east

i watch a manure spreader
ply the rows of a sterile field

growing the dead zone
out of mind in the Chesapeake

until the wind shifts
and i beat a retreat

back from my walk i turn
the garden with a fork

straining out noodley roots
of invasive brome

dry fists of dirt
crumble at the touch

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