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You bore a gilded query and a welcome,
a call to quest and a key
half blade, half seed,
with the barest hint
toward a furrow I followed
from cairn to col
to buckling columns and a staircase leading down.

I wish I’d kept it to myself when I was done.
You always had another thing
to say before I drew the dome off
from the secret.

And apart from you, from your whispered clues,
your always teasing twist toward truth,
your many synonyms for “deeper,”
when I had the key I had the rooms behind the door.

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Jubling

A scurry, a crawl,
a stealth slither
close to the wall,
a slight of paw,

then an evasion of fire
and iron: I pick my way
down, through detention
and garrison, past counter and cog,
a long-hewn road snuck down
for a red-backed frog.

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Teldrassil

Under the canopy: amethyst boughs, violet shadows.
I mistake most moments here for dusk
while with wrath and staff you
shear and cull the press
of blue-hued life.

These first few hours of ease and tutelage
leave me no mind of how, at eighty,
I’ll leave you behind in Sholazar,
or how, years later, I’ll still think of you there,
asleep and waiting for the mail.

 

Liner note

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Every moment manual: resistance and give
of a barb through the pebbly glisten of nightcrawlers’
skin, arc and fly of weight and float
from the shore to the deep of the pond,
finger drifting with the line all through the long
wait to bite, then frantic crank of reel, salvation of net.

Then, this done by my grandfather, the slip of stringer
through mouth and gill to keep our catch submerged
until he could slice and we could clean,
retrieving guts with unwilling fingers,
scraping scales in a waltz of tug and yield.

I would have gone there every day, but now know it
only as gum on string inched down
through a grate of text, or arcanite
rod wrested from Stranglethorn, or a wait
for the bob to dip in a Hyrulean stream.

 

Liner note

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Jump (I)

Flight flanked in stone and black iron,
like seeds aloft from tufts
blown through a wrought fence,
apparent effortlessness carried in convections
billowed up from lava below.

Everyone waits while I bear into
my leather soles again,
weigh my choice of step or leap
from ledge to balcony.

 

Liner note

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Fear Me Again

A dream, one of a series: a picnic table
weathered to gray, marmalade and relish
between concrete slab and dry-rot roof.

You’re next to me, still with lashes
like the dipping afterfeather
of a peacock’s quill, less its iridescence,

eyes like afternoon, like looking out
from cloudless crest to lake below.
When we met I was eight

and thought no boy with eyes like yours
could possibly be cruel. But I’ve only really
found you kind while dreaming;

only after years of dreaming are we friends.
Now I’m thirty-five and, dreaming, you’ve returned
from Africa (in the last, you said

you were to go) but all you have
to talk about is me.
When you kiss me, my mind blooms

in shades of lavender, skull
wreathed in strokes half glyph, half flame —
all I can do is run until it fades.

 

Liner note

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The spot where I rest
you could hardly call an inn –
crate, cot and roof
staked through stone,
canvas walls to lower if they chose,
by the mailbox in Sholazar Basin.

A pavilion like this should be less permanent, and
it’s greener here than at home.

For a while, you woke me weekly
for a run at the mail
and a crack in the Oracles’ egg.

If you woke me today, each egg
would take only three days to hatch.
Half the time.
I’d see twice as many mornings,
stretch my wings twice as often,
soar twice as many times
past waterfall and rainbow to the canopy.

 

Liner note

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