Sunday, December 1, 2013


Lupine Near Kings River


They twirled me around                       
ten times at the edge                            
of the campground                        
then scattered 
                                                                      Take a different path.
as I swayed a little, then
lunged at them, each one
vanishing into bushes               
by the river, the water

roaring into a still,                                   Take a different path.
deep pool, then 
sweeping around a bend, 
a phoebe chirping, barely
out of my reach, on a twig
above the shining edge 
of the pool and the rapids--                    Take a different path.
I was tempted to forget the game

Woodstar, Fiesta Flowers, Chinese Houses
Near the Kings River

and swim across, the water 
smooth for a stretch,                             Take a different path.            
then pitilessly raging,
but I saw my brother,

fifty feet away, scrambling                            
as if his life depended
on it, and I sprinted
like mad, twenty feet                 Take a different path.

away before he 
disappeared into
the deer brush, and I                            
gave up. Alone 

Vetch and Lupine near Kings River

and lost, I knew that I
had failed.  As I                       
leapt across a backwash,
my friends seemed

so distant, impossible                              Take a different path.
to reach. Two feet away,
the water raged, the sun
kindling my breast,                

the trees and bushes so
peaceful that I felt
one with sycamores                        
and oaks and plants

whose names I didn’t know, 
my soul for the first time                              Take a different path.
connecting with the spirit
of the river--and I no longer
wanted anything else.
An hour later, my brother
found me and scornfully
asked where I’d been,                           Take a different path.

before we marched back to camp
where I saw again in the distance
the shining edge of the pool            
and the pitiless rapids.