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The Belly River

unspools sinuous and lithe

through the glacier valleys

of northern Montana;

so named, I learned, for its likeness

to the splayed innards of a bear,

that being whose presence

still presides over all things 

in that country

Evan, Lee, and I

walked three days along...

Two days ago, after being privileged with the opportunity of speaking to group of students about my relationship with animals, and particularly snakes, a student asked, “Why these snakes in particular?” The question was referring to the Amazonian puffing snakes (Spilot...

In dream,

in the desert day,

my child self comes

bearing a hatchling snake,

its pattern half mottled

and half striped

I take his hands in mine,

show him the way to become

one with serpent, to become

the substrate, so as not

to grasp, so as to guide

and let glide

Kneeling down

we pl...

Before she left,

holding her thermos

of hot coffee,
into the predawn,
I said, May you see
a long-tailed weasel
.

That slender,

lithe, little carnivore,

made of equal parts

play and mischief,

which had eluded me

all these years.

So, later

when she said,

Guess what,
I knew it...

It was near nightfall
when we descended upon the cave,

its opening a broad maw
like the mouth of a catfish,

tapering into deeper reaches
of darkness

We crawled up to the basin -
a small pool, no larger in diameter

than a dinner plate, its depth
at most six inches.
It wa...



There are moments when
this machine of degradation
appears almost immaculate -
like a grand weaving
whose warps and wefts
are so well interlaced
as to construct an illusion
that one must accept as real
and inescapable.


And yet it is not seamless. 

There are also m...

I rose on unsteady legs
and hobbled down the steps
to pee in the bamboo thicket,
and seeing a dark, ripe blackberry,

picked it and brought it you
in your summer bed, where you

lay, already sweating

You said, “Thanks, but the first berries

are not for us, and it is best to...

In fevered dream
you remind me,
I am not yet perfect 
Still, this ripple,
like the accipiter 
in the garden of birdsong, 
precedes and follows me
A violence so subtle 
as to seem natural

Yet I wake and you 
sleep beside, and 
our legs overlap 
by the same instinct 
as r...

It is November

and raining hard, again,

enough perhaps,

for the salamanders

to emerge from their long

waiting patiently underfoot

By droves they crawl,

sometimes miles, beneath

the beating rain, bound

for the pools of their birth,

navigating by stars,

or some say by magnetism,

but...


When I wake to see you

stoking the coals

in your underthings,

feeding a log to the fire

with your stout

and lovely hands, which

make so much of nothing,

and you turn, smiling,

and come to lay, somehow,

despite all odds,

beside me, my heart

can do nothing

but this fine

surrender

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