Poetry / February 2008 (Issue 2)

Two Poems

by Michelle Cahill


The mountain is a crystal
beyond the jagged blade
where specks of deer graze.
I watch you peel the skin
of a bamboo rod,
hear the scrape of your sickle.
Sing me a waterfall
in the slow warmth of sunrise.
My wet boots return
to the chorten, accepting
the counsel of prayer flags,
ice and rubble.

The Photographer's Light

All the petals scatter in the folding light.
The road before me has its own emissary.
Tree branches bow to changed weather,  
this afternoon they were sunset's veins.
Birds lash the dark, dissolving sky,
make a scene of leaving where something
like dying is not the reverse of memory.
The future's rank with the scent of duty.
We walked past pilgrims, spirit houses,
ancient monasteries in the dry, orange wind.
Instead of magnolias, you sent crocuses
grown from old cuttings, withered stumps.
Their new life stuns me like moonlight
on the glacier you once photographed:
the dusk, an indigo, slowing down time,
its precise calculation. You stood so still.

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