the echo, returning from the valley
does not recognize my voice,
the wind will not release
the presence of a breathing thing,
sheer rock is faceless fact

waterfall thoughtless waterfall
bends from the mountainlip
leans into air
burns into gravity

there where the fish feed
silent, as bubbles

I have been here briefly
like hands in a glove,
slyly, like winter

I have been here briefly,
crept into the cold
like fingers

I have been here briefly
like skin
like touch

like fur
like frost

& now I vanish
like traces of blood


ten winters carved in my palm
ten winters pushed into flesh,
this valley was my hope among the fleeing peaks
the charged rocks
the tree-line
traced like a knife-wound

there were places that throbbed with undergrowth,
fat as moss
or the great swell of cedar,
hungry with insects,
the mud flesh of creekbeds

this valley
which did not want want me,
never needed me,
was immune to my glass - like skin

this valley
deep as the moon,
a place you could plunge
a knife into


hands cupped & blown into, hands
slapped against shoulders,
rubbed in the snow

hands deep in pockets,
curled into fists,
tight hands
clasped between thighs,
under armpits
hands with blue knuckles

white, dreaming, trembling hands,
bone hands,
hands rubbed together
like a pair of sticks


deep green pools
like a knife thrust in
& the green leaks out

these are the silent pools
formed out of twilight

pools like blank eyes
like ears
where there hasn't been sound

in the grip of stone
in the jaws of stone

pools held like iron
or water

here are the jade fish
fragments of light

frosting over

that sound



ice which contains
the secret memory of water,
ice which is nearly
mad from the cold

ice which knows
the amazement of rock,
the time it takes for the echo


the fists became dreaming
geological beings,
coiled into violence,
the shape of a scream

the fists collected the cold & the silence
into a kind of sinew

the fists became blind
like a rock is blind

fists cut off
from the stump of the wrist


birds of prey here,
lean cunning birds,
shaped like the break in a bone

cut out of stone,
suspended by hooks from the sky

keen-sighted birds
as a dagger



here on the edges
here on the talus slopes
slate-grey cliffs
I try out my human voice

human voice echo
human voice stone
human voice thunder recoils like a blow
like a fist hurled through into silence

the jagged black line of a crow
tears across the sky,
red on its beak,