by Lance M. Ball
From a cottonwood perch on the banks of the Snoqualmie, A heron watches silently the somber sacred task.
From high branches or the stones at our feet, They look into our hearts and see and know.
Widow, the heron is unmoved. Brother, the river is unmoved. Son, the sky is unmoved. Friend, the fish are unmoved.
Unknowing, she and he begin their solemn task Reaching into a bag of dust, extracting artifacts. Under fingernails, in cracks of skin, breathing Him in. Dry and quiet. Loosed into the river.
Plumes of chalky smoke drift catching the current and flow Disperse into the universe.
Bones fall, Dotting the riverbed white. Currents pull the dust of this man, like clouds, Into the swirly hole across the far bank a dublin rose hard by.
High atop a cottonwood perch he watches unmoving. Unmoved. The current takes him. They hold each other, and weep.
Requiem of June 2014
Today I dropped the amnesia and bought me
that song the civil engineer sang for you as you died,
lying there, wiggling your finger at Denny, breathing like a
Santa Fe engine at the end of its time, obscenity, its
boiler losing steam, white & so pure & so wrong.
The paradise song from John Prine, the one of the coal train
& the rape of the forest, the river, the heart of the land
of Muhlenberg County. But the engineer lady did it
better than John, a declension of pain and defeat,
dying a little with you and the rest of us too, and
fading to chant in some minor key that said it
dark and much better, g’bye.
And on playing that song, tinny and weak, I wept
the hot tears I’d saved till today. And I knew how you
loved it, the parched barren earth of our home, you who
found God in the Rockies, and His new covenant side
mooning the sound from west of the Cascades, the
Snoqualmie’s stream of redemption, baptism’s September.
And the song she sang was your song, who once had a
voice like me and our mother, but you had come to Duvall,
you’d sung out your song, and Paradise heard.
October 25, 2014