Oak crickets dedicate their shrilling to the stars:
tireless desire pitched into the jeweled universe
with the most power a chorus of cells can muster.
Such surges are rooted at the core, native
to the multimillion nuclei in each being.
To the fledgling dread of a kestrel, preparing
for first flight. To an apple's thump on earth,
kernels of yearning sealed in the double darkness
of sugars and night-rose coat. Each stores formulae
for longing and reaching with genetic perfection.
And after water is filtered, tent pegs fastened, fruit sliced
the valley stilled, I enter that world one mouthful
at a time. Up along its rim, the lapping grasses
are lighter for the absence of prickly seed-heads
quick-released into my socks as I passed.
for R. Schwartz
A woman donates one of her kidneys, saves
a life. She awakens at dawn and the world
feels altered. To rise fearless after parting
with the body's inner sense of bilateral symmetry
is to understand anew that dawn's scissors of wind,
which slice first light into ribbons the shape of leaves,
will not annihilate them. She can now watch birds
flickering in the sun and feel the inner magnet of hope
that propels them to snap ties with known terrains,
venture across landscapes never traversed. Migration, too,
is the mind in storm, the mind prepared to shed all
but the vector between given and received,
between an emptied landscape and one rich
with sun and nutrients. Still, there's no denying
the half-emptiness remaining. Often her heart
lingers at the edge of what sang
along the slant of branches now swept clean.