I don’t write many poems in this vein, but here are a few
Moonbeam Flame-red hair, dressed in black, surfing down a moonbeam she dances under oaks. Bare feet on mossy turf, gathering shed skins of snakes, she buries a dog skull ’neath tobacco and herbs. Pale skin in bare moonlight, on a mountain top she presses next to me. Full moon burns through a tree. Dance When Sally walked a mile and a half to the neighbor’s barn dance she didn’t think of the walk back. She danced with every boy that asked, encouraged a few that didn’t. Too young to be serious, she just craved fun. No cars passed on the highway. Gas was scarce in 1933. Darkness covered the land and only a crescent moon lighted her path. Bob offered to walk her home and she welcomed the company, even when he suggested the shortcut. Passing the old cemetery, she asked, “Do you think they know we are here? Do you think they mind our presence?” “Whichever one of us dies first will have to come back and let the other know.” “We won’t even know who’s here.” “Oh yes, we will, the one that comes back will dance a jig to let the other know.” She had forgotten their encounter when the storm came that winter and the wind howled through the house. Floorboards of the attic rattled, the tapping got louder. Her sisters cried in alarm. Her daddy took his gun and said, “You stay here while I have a look.” He returned with no shot fired. “There is nothing up there,” he said, his face twisted to strangeness. He wouldn’t let the others go and see. Sally heard Bob died that night, thought of how the noise sounded like someone dancing a jig. Reincarnation An old black vulture landed in a tree overlooking Chickamauga Creek; gave me a sidelong glance. I thought of Edward Abbey, critic of government agencies, professor and park ranger. Abbey is buried in an illegal grave; a cairn of stones covers his remains. His friends saw to his request, wrote on one stone, “Edward Abbey, no comment.” The nemesis of Glen Canyon Dam desired no memorial, got one anyway. He always said he’d come back as a vulture next time, just seemed fitting. I looked up into the oak, said, “Hey there Ed, looks like a good day for flying.” Abbey didn’t say a word; just gave me that sidelong glance, the old buzzard.