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Creek Running North
October 31, 2005
Black and white
I once saw a young woman, mowing grass
on the wide Albert Mortuary lawn.
Lithe she was, and supple, clad in black
knit top: an Oakland summer's morning fog
still played among the tops of redwood trees
and I-580's slabs. She did not smile,
but flexed her arms to push the engine back
and forth across the lawn. I named her Death,
and longed for just a moment there to trace
my fingertips along her subtle ribs;
to taste the morning's sweat upon her mouth.
Instead, my eyes cast down, I watched her mow
each blade of grass cut off at the same height,
her sickle growling sharp as I walked past.
Some of the awns had grown ambitiously;
others lagged, and curled over themselves.
She cut each one the same nevertheless.
Her eyes were fiery dark. Her hair was dark
and hanging in her eyes. Her skin was pale
as Oakland morning fog.
Fifteen years on
the egret lands, all elbows, in the pine
and settles in to watch me as I pass,
neck craned, and hers at me. Her supple white
and languorous feathers beaded wet with fog.
Her eyes were fiery dark. I felt a fish,
a small fish, hardly worth the shrugging thrust
and final toss. Shake me until I'm lank,
head limply angled down behind her tongue,
and with a swallow send me safely home.
Posted by Chris Clarke at October 31, 2005 01:45 PM
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Chris-- Such interesting, evocative images.
Rurality (http://rurality.blogspot.com/2005/10/im-so-tired.html had a photograph posted yesterday that I thought of when I read this poem. Not an egret, but that mouth is amazing!