Lichen Tangled in Her Hair

Red-tail calls in the cloudless sky.
I hear him say he saw
the woman with lichen tangled in her hair
dance across the rounded hilltop
under the great, dark oak.
She whirled among thin green stalks
of miner’s lettuce,
over their rounded leaves
and tiny white flowers.
She soared in the shadow
of thick arching branches
that meet ground at their tips.
She danced past tiny caterpillars
dangling from fine threads
that swayed back and forth
in the breeze of her passing.
She somersaulted across leaf litter,
stilling cricket’s rasp
and darkling beetle’s rustle.

I want to ask red-tail
if he saw my true love
dance beneath rough bark
carpeted in deep green moss
and tumble into sunlight
beyond the oak.
But spider has captured my voice
in dusty grey webs
strung between bare branches
Without a voice, I must pantomime,
but red-tail can’t see me
from his distant perch
across the deep canyon
of dark Douglas firs.
Lacy-winged grey flies
with long white legs
hover over her footprints,
understanding nothing,
and turkey vulture glides past,
staring with tiny black eyes,
but won’t say where she’s gone.


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