Rock to rock, mockingbirds unhitch the middle distance.
The heron lands on some mirror-surface to the wildest folds of dark.
Whatever spirals as the morning passes, ruins of four-leafed clovers
watch it all. Equinox, the swaying weight of daylight turning
another boat—ancient, battered—toward the black high-water mark.
The heron, a sum of parts alone as the moon, meets its limit, echoes, flies.
Chain of black cedars, flock of purple finches. The emptiness
of a waterfall, pattern of its own numberless branching, meets the broken
inscrutable current, the same as any other kind of chase in the end.
Shame, nothing but a shuttle driving back and forth, has no threads half-wild.
This conspiracy of suffering is lost in the throb of cicadas, the throb
of wood and tin in the blue air of the hill.
Dark pine shadows crisscrossing moonlight gone free and loose.
Purple stalks of withered corn, a string of trees silver in dead leaves—
the oldest longest ballad is a burden of rain, dropping its three notes
in a wound of silver on the still and unsurrendering world.
Disappointment, an octave of forever—never
risking everything in the lapse of wing leaves a bitter odor.
Gravity’s a kind of dominion, a kind of ceremony in its own slow spiral,
beginning and ending any kind of confession. Ice tethers the river’s blue
and violet skeins, as if the prism that nothing began drew together
at some center to scrape the river with a stranger’s sight.
The silence the birds did their singing in bridges the cave-like air,
circling rhythmically the blue-black sleeve, choosing winter.
Note: “Eudora’s Year” is a found poem, made up of words and phrases found in Eudora Welty’s short stories.
Jessica Goodfellow’s poetry books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015), and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). A former writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve, she’s had poems in The Southern Review, Scientific American, Verse Daily, Motionpoems, and Best American Poetry 2018.