Sacred Places

take my hand and come with me
to sacred places

High on the Bogachiel,
a stand of second growth,
now old enough to mimic
their departed forebears,
crowns to the sky encircle
a small, mossy clearing.
In the damp of early morning,
elk rise, snuffle and move out
to feed on river bottom grasses.
Midday, as the forest takes siesta,
the glade so quiet God was heard
to whisper his love among fir
and hemlock.

a baby’s clenched fist
glass of shine
maiden’s wrap

The headwaters of the Santiam,
wind their crooked way
down the Sisters’ sides,
through a tumble of granite,
left by some unheard quake,
rock locked together
by time, lichen, circumstance.
To the sound of rapid prayer
the stream falls to join
its kind to Mother Ocean
and back.

a boy’s headlong rush,
pecan fire
thread-bare quilt

At Willapa lagoons,
Clatsop jetty, Cowlitz marsh,
and a thousand places far enough
from steel and concrete
to hold the conversations,
know the stories, voice the songs
of when the wheel of earth
was all a scared place,
we the candles on its altar.

Grandma’s parlor
banana cream pie,
new pen

A few blocks from here,
a used bookstore, shelves
and floor jammed with volumes,
well read, nearly new,
inscribed to a special someone,
scribbled notes to never forget.
An overstuffed couch,
wicker and kitchen chairs,
room for four (or more)
to sit, read, discuss, think.
A pile grows for purchase,
some to be reshelved,
the rest flint to relight the candles.

feed the cat and lock the doors,
we may never return