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Elaine at Rooster Rock


the larchwood dropped her needles
at my feet today, a carpet red and gold
across the coals of where the blacksmith
long departed, forges iron rods and nails
for caskets to bring up the mustard ore

walk softly, she commanded, moving
only when the aspen quakes and pickerel
dive deep to dream—take nothing, least of all
the sticks that petty drummers beat in tattoo
and false chivalry—reactors hold no heat

fire is why
I’ve called you
fire is why
you’ve come

the trail of your desiring
surrounds you now, an asymptote—
he is the curve that holds your line
in place, you are his firmness
mirrored, current to his charge

the ashes of the deadened
tongues you both acquired for
pity’s sake they blew away
the instant you set down the
basket filled with femurs on
the very day he lit the dynamite
that broke off consort with
the empty lords


We followed her directions
stuttering at first, he could not
roll his tongue like poplars do
I learned in snatches how to fish
a dream so deep that mythic
creatures scoff and hiss,
there’s no such thing
as her—or him!

we watch from where we sit
embracing those who navigate
in fits and starts, we hold no
quarrel here upon this rock for
as the larchwood promises each
ray must find its hope at every
dawn resides a new desiring.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Photograph by Lisa Bobechko, ©2014