If I could see the end coming,
I would wait for it. Where?
Beside the sumacs, under the beech
where the animals I've grieved
are a trellis of bones. I'd ask
the Carolina wren to spill out
her song, and as the world condensed,
hyacinths, peonies, stargazing lilies
would bloom together, bathing everything
in their thick, sweet scents.
I wouldn't expect a sudden white light
or a familiar crowd on the horizon
waving me forward -- just trees hiking
down the mountainside, winter creek
softening at the edges, filling with snowmelt,
tumbling toward me. My husband,
a river-runner, would be holding a trout
he carved from redwood burl, curved grain
giving momentum to fins, his voice
only in my head. "If you're swept away,
point your feet down stream."
Beyond me, there'd be leaping,
the sporadic glimpse of deer, squirrels
threading understory. I'd pass
a single black bear up on two legs,
the last wild man, savoring the air
above his face. I'd watch the low moon
step down from a locust branch, pause
at another, and slip away. All would be,
or seem, a slow process, like falling
in and out of love, again and again,
with the same person for years.