Poetry Season

There are poems hiding
in the mountains of the soul.
I glimpse pieces of them
furtively, as if I’m speeding by
through a forest of trees.
I’m often too focused on my destination
to make out their finer features,
jotting down snippets and impressions
before moving on,
but I’d like to stop and pull out a sketchbook,
and set up a camera
or trap
and capture an entire poem at once.
I’m tempted to turn on my hazards,
and pull off onto the shoulder,
but it’s hard to go poem-hunting
with passers by constantly
going out of their way to ask you about it.
They see you staring intently at nothing
and loudly ask if you’re alright.
They startle it,
and if you can’t hush them,
the poem bounds away before
you’ve even snapped a blurry picture of it.
You’re better off on the scenic byways,
crawling over dirt roads,
or ditching the roads all together
to meander the overgrown paths of life,
stopping to listen as poems crash
and tumble through the underbrush,
anticipating where they’ll feed out or bed down,
hoping to spot one from a distance
to be weighed, considered,
stalked up on with bare feet, quietly
until you can breathe it in,
until you can almost reach out and touch it
before it disappears.


The boys found a field mouse family’s
burrow beneath one of their tents.
The mother ran under a bush to watch
as the scouts inspected the shallow trench.
In the earth she’d made a careful nest,
laid with cotton fluff and fine, dry grass
for the naked body of a birth-blind pup,
which chirped as it searched for her in the dirt.
I covered the place with a piece of bark,
and whispered to boys to step away and watch
the mother come back from where she’d fled.
They crushed her pup with a rock instead.