It’s impossible to explain, said Blurtso. What is? said Harlan. Why? said Blurtso. Lizzy? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, I’ve seen thousands of donkeys before. It’s a mystery, said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s hard to explain.
“Too many words”
too many words and too much motion
to describe the branch’s sway
and the afternoon of your eyes!
Buzz, hum, and flutter are slower words.
City whisper heard from the hills,
and voices’ splash crossing the canyon.
Seep in, stillness,
settle the swell of the sea!
Too many words, too much motion
to feel the feel of the earth,
its grass beneath the hooves,
its spray upon the cheek.
With so little wisdom,
with circles and struggles and haste,
how can I hope to catch the ripple
of your breath on the glass of my soul?
“The moon found you”
Caught in the discarded straw
on the floor of the loft,
the broken rays reached toward you.
Like timid fingers they touched lightly,
then relaxed embracing your ankles.
Slowly, like a child entering water,
you were immersed in the light.
It moved like a gentle river
illuminating your cool flesh,
it flowed to the eddy of your knees
and grew in two rich currents
to meet at the top of your thighs.
Pausing, rising and falling with your breath,
tender waves rolled to your neck,
caressing your forelegs and breast.
As the light reached your eyes
I feared it might wake you,
so I blocked it with my hoof
and let you go on sleeping.
“With two hooves”
With two hooves and a full heart
I have fashioned a poem.
It was born of a fragrant branch
cut from the top of a white mountain.
With a delicate blade I shaped it,
refined its roughness,
I smoothed, sanded, and stroked it
until it had the softness of your snout.
With a dark varnish
I released the blood in its veins.
It was born as you were, it is yours.
I traveled the winds of salt,
where the waves ache
and the rivers meet and mix.
At a silver lake I listened.
I crossed the seasons,
and found in the fountains of spring
the voice that knows your name.
With earth on my hooves,
I bring this poem
to the silent place where you keep
the secrets of your heart.
The world was still new,
uncertain shapes and sounds,
you heard your name.
“Lizzy” could have been an apple,
or a butterfly, or a sunset in spring,
but its syllables
became a seed,
the sprout of your center.
Little by little
you grew comfortable
with the sound and the colors
in your name,
its wings sailed
from voice to voice,
the houses and streets and trees,
making its way
to the peak of a dream.
At the first competition
it seemed the chilly name of another.
It was not yet you,
its essence was untested,
so you went seeking,
searching in weary mirrors,
in questioning shadows,
until you found
its true voice singing
in the slow light of dedication.
It was then it lingered,
and stopped a Blurtso that passed,
thinking it was the echo of an apple,
or a butterfly, or spring.
Just above whirl the sparks
and the planets in space.
Their silver tails leave wounds
on the dark glass of the sky.
Tonight the moon mounts
the slow steps of the spheres,
raised like an idol by holy hands,
scaling the edge of the night.
At the summit the light lingers,
awaiting its worldly worship,
then descends, riding on ropes,
borne on the back of the air.
Like a burning crystal,
the moon has been sent for you.
It lights and carries your name
to a place beyond the sound
of the whistle and whirl of stars.