Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Territory \ August: Archipelago

Alan:  Living in the country, we have all kinds of neighbors.  Some drop by for the occasional visit.   Some don’t get along.  Mostly we all accommodate, but not always.


When the bear walked off
with the open can of sardines you’d put down
just for a moment,
you didn’t stop him.

When the bear, browsing
along the shore, left tracks
like welcome mats across the mud,
I didn’t follow.

We figured the bear came with the territory.
The coyotes, too, and the fisher,
the deer, the moose.
When we arrived, they made room.
We leave them be.

One day the trapper went by in his car.
Our neighbor said a bear was stealing sheep.
A bear didn’t come with the territory,
not in his book.

It feels a lot smaller, now –
the neighborhood, the territory –
all those sheep, and no bear.

Nancy:  I've wondered whether – if I were on the ship – would my shore appear to hover?  Would I float inverted in the sky?

August: Archipelago

Islands rise
drift off
hang in the air

Lavender haze
a white ship
above it another ship
       like the islands
       inverted, paired

Cloud-mountain sky
white mountain sea
terns dive
       the sea-mountain clouds
       shiver and break

Island to headland
white ship below
white ship above
       in the air
       on the horizon

       white ship above
       white ship below

“Territory” first appeared in Living on Salt and Stone (Stone Man Press, 1984).

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