for Gary Snyder


Come out the brake
into the face
of the hill—the full
spill of sunglare
hazes dust into air
arcades & down
-drift. A scattering of snap-
dragons points up.
Seven thousand feet,
& cattle low in the field, steam things
amidst a morning veil, a cloud
liquefying upon their backs.
This broadshouldered land—ridges
that overtop a continent of birds,
hot with noon sun or quickened
by the seabreeze off a cold Pacific—
returns its axis to the same degree,
each day sky’s processions a flight.
I flew back in August. I saw
the green cascade,
earth a still wave,
the snowmelt eking into
rivulets that cut pylon stairs
out of the granite spleen of
the hills, heard the cowbells
in the mountain air, the ground
wearing the names of saints:
our lady’s slippers, virgin’s
gloves, James’s wort,
Peter’s herb, all
reaching for the same
orbital curve.


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