I left two of my thousand feet

nest-venturing amidst river

stones – gray, lightening-wrapped, quartzed, algae-locks

fristling free in the icy tide.

I left two of my thousand eyes

between splinters and tiny flowers

to take in for me for a thousand years

the limited expanse of black sparkling sand

the black rocks breaking water into fireworks

the burps of volcanoes immortalized, until they fade into white

clouds, the ghosts of past explosions, the overlookers.

I picked up a particular piece of driftwood

inspected the tiny halls and chapels eaten into the red

xyle, watched black volcanic devotees the size of sand-blips

jizzle out of their rooms

memorized the story mapped uncompassed on the redwood:

a labyrinth of tiny pools, a circus of black-rimmed eyes

devoid of pupils, instead inscribed with the wrinkles

of years that once were rings

of unsteady hand that wrought the terror

of being split by lightning or wrote the serenity

of being split by an axe-machine.

And I learned the meaning by heart and ear

then I put the piece of story down beside my vacated

footprint in the glittering black sand

and strolled away, into cloud,

lighter on my hundred and ninety-eight feet

lighter for carrying this story heavy with salt

fresh from heaviness.


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