This is the time
when I spin on fast heels
and catch red.
Each breath drawn
thickens blood to sap,
damp leaves mixing
with cool air.
My hair flashes
orange at the roots.

This is when I walk
the river's curves;
water combing banks
for bird skulls
and old shells lodged
in sparkling loam.
I hear stones, worn round,
tumble south;
eyes to match
the racing carp's.

I am gravel piled at the edge
of field by this flood;
a kite of maple
strung along by the duck's flight.
My voice sinks heavy
back to earth,
to be turned under,
when winter's melt
fills my hands.

1980 John Goss