Crazy Enough

Birds below the winter sky,
their wings etched in black
against the thick gray blanket.
In leafless months they’re visible
in rooks and nesting branches
as they come and go in the wet morning.
Their patterns marked above
the crowded street, where cars
move in straight lines, the birds
cover and cross by their own desire.
I weave them together in my thoughts,
always the knitter of the frayed edge
and contrary force.
Peace chiefs of the great prairie
offered this prayer during the horror,
when the buffalo were ridden down,
the grass altar torn apart.
Warriors said our prayers were crazy
but the old woman told us
we were not crazy enough.


(for William Stafford)





Wearing the Darkness

In the last days of December
low clouds move slowly
through shades of grey,
the soft beauty
of a northwest morning
after days of rain.
Earth wet and breathing,
evergreens stretch their roots
as birds circle in the cold air.
I’m glad to sit by the fire,
wearing the darkness
like an old hooded sweatshirt,
worn soft in just the right places,
warm enough for winter.