I was raised in the light of mountain hulk of
a confident outline brazen vibrational
luster a conglomerate presence of pine stone
lion deer & bear’s
amorous desiring of apples her choke-cherry
seed-filled scat left in the meadow
we often returned to
the edge of the drive where she wanted
close to bushels fragrance in storage. Unthinking, or at behest
of white-eared hummingbird –– we left
the door ajar. And don’t you love a-jar
its alliance with fruit jams spontaneous music impromptu
elations the elemental chorus : insects playing stick-wing
& leg instruments the frisson of bear fur
& fat against bark the curly-haired
dog his nose for eternity its scent : fungus & moss ––
while nearby [ in-house ] a colloquium of female iconography carries on
a statuesque chat. There are nights I want to ––
but it’s a waste bending time its orbital
belly its hot sensual core. The mountain refuses
a belt and that is power –– happily
it leaks all over itself a fountain intricate. My favorite
watercolor mountain is arroyos their spidery legs
edging toothy rocks-streams-skip –– the way that poet was
always skipping beyond mountain piano keys of
fingers piercing air –– caw! caw! –– into imagination
the other side of perception respectful of sky-streaked clouds.
Even her cat cried out and her dog would have died
for her he was such an accomplice. Stigmata
dripping from claw. We are bears drunk on
apples –– apples delighted to be
desired by bears. Fruit’s not-too-tough cellulose crimps
at mouth puckers where grey bird stabbed
bit tore. Left sunburst in the kisser
of a gap. I think of Jackson his cat-mouth chattering
uncontrollable at window practicing the clamp down and tear.
His mouth sunk in imagination
of bird flesh warm provision beyond
feathers. I tell you when my mother tears a fingernail
my own is ripped-to-the-quick. And when after long walk
through woods I tell bear I want to see her –- she appears
that very night where I spoke –– righteously offended
by my shout & heave of the magnitudinous Rothenberg
anthology –– my cup flying up –– a star into ether –– the shatter of
tea leaves over fired brick. She came in search of
apples. Her cinnamon gleam splays \\|/ / patio light.
She doesn’t hurt my dog though she could have
slashed him to watercolors: arterial thick. Dog hides in bush.
Bear ambles out the taming arch into far infrared night.
Woman with a curl in her belly is stricken by after-the-visitation:
Bear could have killed my dog. Bear could have taken a bite of me or my beloved.
Bear and I had a galactic halo of conversation which continues.
Listen the same story can be told as myth or matter ( of ) ––
Sawnie Morris’ Her, Infinite (New Issues Press, 2016), won the 2015 New Issues Poetry Award, judged by Major Jackson. Recent honors include the 2016 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize and inclusion in the online edition of BAX: 2016, Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), Poetry (2017), Lana Turner (2018, 2019), as well as in Harvard Review’s Renga for Obama. Sawnie’s poems have won a Poetry Society of America Bogin Award and her chapbook in The Sound a Raven Makes (Tres Chicas Books) was co-winner of a New Mexico Book Award. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Taos.