Poem by Lennie Newman
the grasses soaked with dew
stood tall and taut,
in encrusted silence,
dutiful soldiers with spears,
wet with bright stars.
my eyes crushed them with jubilance.
they leaned into the silk wind
into unbidden threads of raspberry,
violet, poison oak,
each vein of their leaves
a spider’s web, drifting.
the tall people gestured to tree trunks
and we heard the creaking of bark like palace doors—
they pointed to roots where black beetles crawled
and we rode them like shining chariots—
a twig, a peasant’s spit turning over a white flame;
a feather, a girl’s wing—
from the yellow ashes of burnt sunlight
rose birds singing cold songs,
and we with the new gift of infancy
felt our feet pricked with each note
as hidden needles do in the hay.
the marshes bled wind,
the mottled moonlight kissing us with lessons of sounds:
the tingle of hair in the breeze,
the echo of stones under an indigo dome,
the heaving swells on the horizon,
the estuaries swimming
towards some dark freedom.
the tall people pointed to distant silver clusters
and we tasted the skin of orion and cassiopeia,
heavy and buzzing and sweet—
they walked us with purpose on a path through the reeds
and we smelled the mud as tart
and musky as sweat—
they gave us stones to strike
that glowed blue and green;
scent by scent
we stepped and stepped
knowing less and less—
dusty and purple the voluptuous sky
stirred, shifted, sighed
as lovers intertwine.
we did not know this.
a boy touched his pinky to mine—
the night pressed its forehead against ours,
the grasses bled dew,
and our eyes streamed with jubilance-