Hithern, December

a wandered road's tramp
lets loose the line of our mountain town border,
in from the outskirts he
rakes the halyard at his back to swing the jib
and eddy to the curb, he's
afraid for the girth of his sail in this city,
that his last valediction might find him here
by the tall ivory of his canvasses
and the nature of the gale he pushed.
what he'll recover is a use for loneliness
and what he'll lose is his pickling guilt
his movement in our hills will wring crackle his limbs
and those ammonic dimmed wits will flee.
he sweeps a stone seat of its snow
and sits to string fiddles in the street crowds which
come to the mountain cloister
for the lens it makes of this valley to the wilds of Orion and Ursus.
i know the man for his winter breaths there on the street,
twisted mist columns of a poet's lucre,
and a stride that doesn't know
where go these winds

The Chest

the man built the chest from familiar fibers
four walls of a grain done tested
by long winter and the run of the Chinook
he built it
with the good of guests in his eyes
and the longsuffering
of home on his back
he asked a tree to the floor
and took its skin and
counted one of few wounds he's dealt a brother

that chest smells like whiskey drift and candlelight,
it smells like
what his wife loved in his shirts for
thirty years of
a mostly graceless marriage dance
propped up
by mercy
and kept in the habit of breathing by music
that was never turned off