The alp at the end of the street
cleaves my thoughts in solitude.
Address after address piles up
in window shades of February
near a concrete river bank,
where two kingfishers mate
violently, and then abandon
the desire. Watching, I know
we are more than numbers,
the necessary ways we quiet
into nothing at all, and then
never more absent our sounds.
The street stretches us beyond
the comfort of new asphalt,
where closer to the alp a hawk
on the ground, half a squirrel
in its throat, choked to death.
Placed, so, beyond the compass of change,
The sinkhole at the edge of the wheat field,
deepening, a magnet in its center--
it is common to mistake types of birds,
or grasses. I once mistook the trees
for desire. Then, the other day I could not
remember the name of my mother’s cancer.
Sun affixed upon a field-bed, you lie
on a sheet in the middle of a hay field
spread out and damp from the dew.
You keep your focus on the trouble
with the spaces between what matters.
A compass—our cells do experience
magnetic stimulation—where is that
field—yet the body is never enough.
About the Author: After living in Alaska and California, Bret Shepard completed his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Currently, he lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Green River College. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. He is the author of Negative Compass, winner of the Wells College Chapbook Prize.