Songline of Dawn
We are ascending through the dawn
the sky blushed with the fever
ppppppppppppppppppp of attraction.
I don't want to leave my daughter,
pppppppppppppppppp or the babies.
I can see their house, a refuge in the dark near the university.
Protect them, oh gods of the scarlet light
who love us fiercely despite our acts of stupidity
our utter failings.
May this morning light be food for their bones,
for their spirits dressed
ppppppppppppppppp in manes of beautiful black hair
in skins the color of the earth as it meets the sky.
Higher we fly over the valley of monster bones
left scattered in the dirt to remind us that breathing
is rooted somewhere other than the lungs.
ppppppppppppppppppppp My spirit approaches with reverence
because it harbors the story, of how these beloveds appeared to fail
then climbed into the sky to stars of indigo.
ppppppppppppppp And we keep going past the laughter and tears
of the babies who will grow up to become a light field
just beyond us.
And then the sun breaks over the yawning mountain.
And the plane shivers as we dip toward
pppppppppppppppppppppppppp an old volcanic field.
It is still smoldering
motivated by the love of one deity for another.
It's an old story and we're in it so deep we have become them.
The sun leans on one elbow after making love,
pppppppppppppppppppp savoring the wetlands just off the freeway.
We are closer to the gods than we ever thought possible.
From A MAP TO THE NEXT WORLD (W.W. Norton, 2000)