MORNING LA CROSSE
Riverside & La Crosse at breakfast hour:
yellow tents, runners on the promenade,
like guiding bones light-craft shifting
indigently down the Mississippi. Though
distant, my father sings out from treetop:
eagles await, owls are falling into shadow.
All breath is sacred, on our buckled knees
our buildings stand proud breathing out
aspirations, bent out of shade toward sunlight,
lent down to the river. Sweet world, do you
love me still? Big Muddy where pilgrims
and prophets ought gather to repent wrench
of spaceland bearing breath of indigenous
people who claiming nothing possessed all.
In La Crosse on a bench by the Mississippi
my father descended from his tree offers me
a wild woodbine. I catch in the red stone
on a far hill a glow of liquid, fiery, breathing
life. In Ireland long ago with ash and oak
we wrote our poems out on the waking earth.
we walk across
Inwood Hill Park.
old leaves list
on the forest floor
robin on a long ledge
of an upraised limb.
Hello my father
language of place
lore of place
one April day
you say, the trees—
an alphabet laced
across the land.