Winter Solstice West of Potlatch
Trees grow corral leaves
white as breath hanging on air.
Pines are themselves cones
of aged slumber.
. . . walks to find pine needles
for the beasties, a little green
in a sleeping world.
. . . squeaky boots and hiss of llama toes
before they break through the crust.
. . . frost on their wool before sun
if it ever comes through fog.
From the town, noon whistle.
Christmas is hurry
in the timeless place,
and fire whistle blows:
indoor tree fires.
Ice is a claw without time;
spring is a whore
bears should slumber to enjoy.
And from the town noon
whistle blows around Christmas.
first published in Poems From the Last Frontier, National Arts Soc., 1989.