Along the Crooked River (how many of these might there be in the USA?)
Probably not as many as there are of Bear Creek, Indian Creek, or Dutch Flat,
those names we collected again and again on our drives across the country.
My favorite adjacent creeks in our Michigan neighborhood
are called Mud Creek and Minnehaha Creek, which both cross
Pickerel Lake road within a few rods of each other.
We never made it back to Michigan this year
and will miss the world-class autumnal splendor
that begins st the end of this month.
LEARNING TO SPEAK
As a child running loose,
I said it this way: Bird.
Bird, a startled sound at field's edge.
The sound my mouth makes, pushing away the cold.
So at the end of this quiet afternoon,
wanting to write the love poems I've never written,
I turn from the shadow in the cottonwood
and say blackbird, as if to you.
There is the blackbird. Black bird, until its darkness
is the darkness of a woman's hair falling
across my upturned face.
As I go on speaking into the night.
The oriole, the flicker,
the gold finch . . .
Collecting the Animals, Carnegie Mellon, 2000
And now this volume of Peter Everwine goes back on the shelf until next year.
He has been a favored find of this one. jhh