#125 Gathering Poles at Quaking Aspens by Gloria Dyc

Gathering poles for my coyote fence
I bend the leafless aspens, once gold
some break easily: these I take
But where there is pliancy in wood
there is still life, another winter
I leave these, and strip away the bark
from some poles scorched in a fire
and find the secret work of insects.
An ocean sound moves the forest
soon ice and wind will loosen roots

Twenty poles from Quaking Aspens
make for two feet of  fence
each year my roots loosen
In the stillness of practice
the bow of my spine is pliant
my pulse is an ocean: red, red
I travel in a vessel
made of paper and wood

There were four Buddhas
three had faces veiled by silk
One was prone, ready for birth
his carved ivory skin worn
 through centuries was like the
wood stripped of its bark
to reveal the secret glyphs of being
 
2.

I hear the coyotes taunting the dogs
as they pass through the arroyo;
the days shorten, the cries come earlier
I fasten pole to pole with baling wire
the fence wouldn’t keep coyotes out
but I have nothing to protect:
the practice is my winter count
When the moon unravels itself from the clouds
and floats on the clear lake of space
I think: this is how it will be in the end
a brightening of a candle in a paper lantern
and then a darkness lighter than light

Gloria Dyc is a Regents’ Professor of English at the University of New Mexico-Gallup where she gas taught English for 25 years. She has published in numerous small press journals and is forthcoming in the 2012 issue of GARGOYLE.  She is on the editorial board for RED MESA REVIEW.


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