Colby Stopa CC
How Time Travel Presents a Challenge for Humans
When I have hard days I want to write as if
there are no other choices and nothing
else worthwhile in the world to do.
I mention this, then gaze up at Crow.
I'm not holding a can attached to a string
but I still feel silly, anxious. I puff out
a breath: in for a penny.
Crow closes one glossy eye.
Despite the tide and drift of ages,
holy places endure.
I tip that side to side and look
for a spillage of insight.
Wait. Thirty million years—that's my
thought. That's how long Crow's kind
have been carrying food to ghosts,
speaking the languages of clan and kindred.
Seeding new fields, forests, fables.
My kind? Six million, give or take.
Our stories were minted yesterday
or five minutes ago, comparatively.
Crow peers down at me and I see myself
reflected: no one goes alone? Then I see
that's not it at all.
No other creatures are deep time travelers.
Frequent out-of-now flyers. Consider the
lilies of the field, birds of the air
and all that for example. Yeah: just us
wandering around out there, haunting
the past or future, now and then getting
a loaf or a note from crows.
Too damn much time thinking about dying
and what thousand places I'm not, the
ten thousand things I'm not doing right
Deep breath, nine more.
Crow stretches one wing, turns to face
the other way. Your power is finite,
but not useless.
I smile finally, and recall my clean
timeworn body to the present.
It's a hard holy day.
I walk up the mountain
and put pen to paper.
At the Edge
There is a softening
where the sky is wet with ink
and the pine grove
smells of resin despite the snow.
My hope is pliable, though
at first it was a slab broken
from a horror-house ceiling--
a piece of corroded shipwreck or
chain wire fence.
Some dream of it, but that's just dreams.
Everything we're conditioned to want
is still for sale isn't it?
I find it kneads more readily now
despite hands that shake.
There is suffering in this
but also an inscrutable stamina--
a healing more profound than death,
a curative that sings to bees despite
wind changes and dire daily horoscopes.
The universe is groping hard toward
something buoyant, risen. One day soon
we will not recognize ourselves.
Whisper to the milkweed as it flies--
ask advice of ghosts and put your hands
on the trees while they dream.
Even rivers have questions.
So much is alive.
So very much is alive.
How often the wind changes course over the mountains
A common fantasy of the wind up here
is progress unimpeded. Or maybe a better
buzz word is less than lethal.
I want everything to stay the same
while June is tickling fresh except
for my son carrying milk downtown
for his friends, a remedy for pepper spray
or diluted baby shampoo when they were small
and non-compliant. Cornsilk heads
can't be repaired like the watch
my son wears despite cell phones. Sadly
the milk and baking soda don't work
for tear gas, only cakes.
I have one pepper plant already
June-ing but the bullets are not rubber--
they have a metal core with
a polymer coating, hardened plastic
to disperse protesters or for a laugh
or a buzz, multitasking
like a mother of three small boys
ticking down to baths full of soft
bones and plastic to disperse
bedtime stories and sponge
grenades. Yesterday we dug three wild onions
the size of tangerines, the size of
projectile ammunition from the mountain.
They were crisp but without sting
and I didn't cry cutting them.
I replanted the severed roots
and small hands and voices anyway.
Wind your watch to allow cartridges
to be reloaded quickly. They are safer
than June shock devices and still maintain
knock down weeping and when they bleed
we glue them up or have them embroidered
in every color of the rainbow, or black.
To repair the damage we must confess
our bones inside, ticking, and replant them
as many times as necessary.
Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, The Main Street Rag, Sky Island Journal, Star*Line, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and River Heron Review, among others.
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