Martin Willitts, four poems
Light changes slowly with subtle words
such as cautious and determinedly,
marking a demarcation line across the horizon,
delineating between day and night
taking over the sky. The drakes in the wetlands
are excited by the transformation.
Above, in daylight, you can see the moon
like a white wafer. Perception only amazes
the participant who never notices
the daily occurrences with minor variations.
What are different are the blending shades,
the clouds wheeling like hawks, the way light
haunches on the edge while day begins or ends.
There is always this anticipation of the differences,
and the end results are that our expectations are met —
not in color, or uncertain times for the transfers,
but in the way no two days begin or end the same.
Thousands of years, the universe has palpitated,
expanded and contracted like a heart,
with such restlessness, and we barely notice
what is plain to the eye: the universe is constant
and changeable. We barely break the surface
of observation and when we do, we take for granted
the drakes will migrate when marshes are ice tinged,
and the drakes will return when spring returns,
never considering it might be otherwise.
Was it steadfast for the apricot
to remain on a tree
and be covered by early snow?
or, was it pound-foolishness,
unawareness of the ashen skies?
The storm plunged in
with suddenness of a hawk.
We get early warnings
and ignore them.
It is not as though danger lurks
behind a mountain range
or can rise up out of nowhere.
A tidal wave always starts somewhere —
a rift in the ocean floor,
tectonic plates shifting, or moon-pull.
A friend of mine lets anger get to him:
his third stent in one year.
I’ve warned him.
He has fissures, his solid refusal to change.
Someday, without warning,
another attack will swoop in.
The "Lily: The yellow of the Columbia" (Fritillaria pudica)
its root must be "the food of the natives"
the yellow fritillary
was collected near the headwaters
of the Missouri River
it grows throughout the Pacific Northwest
in well-drained, dry, sunny sites, and is today
a valued rock garden species
for its nodding,
golden-yellow flowers and its petite habit
it reminded Jefferson of his wife's hand
and her smell
it defied reason
it swelled with the seasons
it haunted him at candlelight
in the oval cameo, in the oval
of a bed
This Topography Is Unexpected As Bitterroot ((Lewisia rediviva)
(State flower of Montana)
Bitterroot can live for more than a year without water
its pink blossoms conspire close to the ground
so it can hear itself called the "resurrection flower"
they can be dried & pressed
then revived after being soaked
you can eat its roots, but seldom raw,
it tastes bitter taste and it resultant swelling
causes great discomfort like childbirth