After We Collided
after Joy Harjo
I was a star falling from the night sky,
a cloud weeping on the horizon,
a feather stretching wide the wing,
a salmon scaling from ocean to river,
a seed unfolding in the soil,
a sigh in the hollow of your neck
and I needed you to catch me.
Mystery of Salt
The ocean breathes a ragged sigh,
clouds sagging with rain.
Waking on a gray day takes concentration,
an effort of will when a pool of warmth cradles
us close, covers snugged to our chins.
Wind whistles the corner of the house,
mimics gulls crying, and I wonder
if the storm will pass. If the briny air
will fill our eyes with tears.
Yesterday, sea and sky echoed
a perfect blue, water smooth
enough to roll marbles as we stood
in the prow, each of us taking turns
to hold you one last time.
Even though we knew you were not there –
at least not in that coffer, that box –
we included you in our conversation.
And before we let the ocean take you,
heavier than we thought,
we kissed you like we could fill your lungs
To leave you in the dark, the deep
was what you wanted. And with shore
so far away, we watched the spot
where we left a bit of earth and ash,
with flowers scattered around,
lone tern circling above.
This morning you are truly gone,
and we face the coming storms without you.
What Wind Knows
Wind blusters the canopy of trees,
clouds bruising a marbled sky.
Chimes whirl and sing
while the chickadees hide.
Yesterday’s sun burnished a falcon
gliding through the blue
golden feathers stretched wide.
I couldn’t look away –
wildness at large.
Today a different kind of wildness:
fury of leaves spattered with rain,
gusts mistaken for thunder,
rush of wind against my face.
a measure of grace,
a reminder I am
not in control,
not of where the light falls,
not of the dropping blossoms
that look like snow. Breathe
in this moment –
now let it go.
KB Ballentine’s sixth collection, The Light Tears Loose, appeared last summer with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others. Born in Florida and living in Tennessee, Ballentine delights in the pull of both ocean and mountains. Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.