As I approach, lifts and turns, lands
on a hickory branch. Her wings arc, the tail
spans and burns red in the autumn sun. The gold
ribbon grass glows as everything in me slows.
All the beauty moves down the draw
into the basin of me. The streams
oaks along the creeks coach me.
The north wind brings lightness to my step.
The massive Black Angus bull studies me.
A new mother cries in alarm. The herd runs
up the hill except for the bull who watches me
until I shimmy under the barbed wire fence. Out here
the roll and rise of the hill’s tawny flanks
brush me into a silky sweep.
I’m mollusk fossil, cow paddy, coyote chorus…
A wild dance takes me. As dad’s decreasing
circulation brings him to a stop I resume
the unfinished business of my childhood.
~ Michael Nelson