Saturday, February 25, 2006

For Junie B.

The Consequences of Death
- Pattiann Rogers

You might previously have thought
each death just a single loss.
But when a plain grey titmouse dies,
what plunges simultaneously and disappears too
are all the oak-juniper woodlands,
the streamside cottonwoods, every elderberry
bush and high spring growth of sprouted
oak once held in its eye.

And when sugar pine splits, breaks
to the ground, falling with its fiestas
and commemorations of blue-green needles,
long-winged seeds, the sweet resin
of its heartwood, there's another
collapse coincident - a fast inward
sinking and sucking back to nothing
of all those stars once kept in its core,
those clusters of suns and shining
dusts once resident in the sky of its rigid
bark and cone-scales. We could hear
the sound of that gallactic collapse as well,
if we had the proper ears for it.

And when a mountain sheep stumbles,
plummets, catapulting skull, spine,
from cliff side to crumbling rock below,
a like shape of flame and intensity
on a similar sharp ledge on the other side
of the same moment, out of our sense,
loses balance, goes blind.

Because of these torn paper-shreds
of gold-lashed wings, this spangled
fritillary's death, somewhere begind th enight
a convinced declaration of air and matter
and intention, silenced, speaks no longer
of the god of its structure.

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