Somewhere a girl
I haven’t seen for years
Rests in her northern home.
The lines in her palms
Are dreams when touched
Are like a face that rises,
Her eyes restless, disconsolate.
The winter the drifts bulked
The wind came down hard;
Sometimes at night someone
Would lean down and pass
Light and scent over my face.
I would wake to stand and look
From the window to see and listen
For the wind, crystalline and elegant,
A holy twirl drifting on white surfaces.
Time has cooled my fever;
I rest more easily.
Life has become the sentiment
Of neighbors passing by,
A sheltering of honest agreement
Each year, each inch of time.
Lost in the legends of the Chippewa,
She writes her letters on white birch bark
Girdled from the tree.
Much of what she wrote
Is unrecorded history.
I tell her I have written her
A thousand letters telling her
The dreaming in our bodies is a promise
That sustains us, a line that always rises;
How my eye goes from cracks in the pavement
To the horizon line, how my endings
Always seem flawed, how I know this
Before it happens, how each day the sun shines
I clock its progress, each day
The line exact as ever the eye will see.