Wood that can learn is no good for a bow.
- William Stafford ("The Answers
Are Inside the Mountains")
Odd places claimed in the heart, evergreen
in steep, loose scree to where Wu Gang
packs his axe before the sun clears the ridge.
Each step slips where there is no trail,
no easy ascent from where the dirt track
ends at Ragle Springs. His every day,
every swing erased by starlight – myth
transplanted to fit my landscape, rooted to
a pocket on Sulphur like a permanent
boutonnière – it can heal from a distance
greater now than inhaling the pungent
blood of bark with crushed bay leaves.