poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Imaginary Lines



Here along the bank of a dry riverbed

where spring runoff once boiled and gargled

now dust sifts in near-constant wind

only close attention can separate into gusts

Tumbleweeds tumble, lizards swift as flies

despite their awkward back-twisting four-legged gait

race over fossilized bones of some long-dead animal

In each lizard’s small body-mind a planet spins

its for-now-unheard history in the original tongues


An imaginary line used to run through here

an equator, the waist of an imaginary planet

perfectly round mostly ocean with islands

large and small now imagined nearly barren

but for insects and microbes


We don’t have to be present to imagine

not in the usual sense

Presence has layers felt every-here

but seen only by the very patient

even centuries away


Winds sing in imagining ears

songs of the dead-yet-not-dead;

from layers down where forgetting isn’t possible

night calls of wolves and owls rise


So you wish the world were different, said the Muse

so it didn’t work only in the ways you see

ignoring your primal values of justice and compassion?

A lizard look flashed over her face

a first-day look prior to a creative division 

into amusement, pity and cruelty

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