Wet Pine Needles

Running the brittle floor—upon leaves settled to soil.

With mild hands wandering—through air and pressed sunlight.

Becoming branches—breaching the film of moist sky.

Clinging to winter’s sun—lucent thoughts, fictile.

Moving with the wildness—of the warm, fragile body.

Its abstractions of molds—ravines, dips, and death.

 

Wet pine needles held in a beam of furtive light.

 

 

 

Mountain Lake

Burnt Lake

I sit with her

Placing her in memory

Giving thoughts strength, yet

In her silence, she frightens me.

I rely on others

Camping upon her shore

To soothe my worry.

And although I haven’t

Seen her rimmed with snow

Echoing the clearest of nights,

Pitted with raindrops

Upon her clear face,

Witnessed her held tight

By mist and clouds,

I know she has experienced this.

 

She reflects me

Placing me inside her memory

Giving strength to her beauty, yet

In my silence, I frighten her.

She relies on the stream

And springs to ease her.

And although she hasn’t seen

All who I love, have loved,

My stumbles and woes

On nights of anxiety,

My elations and successes,

The clatter of the city

Reverberates within me

She knows I have experienced this.

 

elanmudrow@gmail.com

Ghost Story For The Wilderness Impaired

Slough Reflection
Timothy Lake July 2018

She’s a ghost. I know that. She brushes her fingers along my shoulders and I will look up to find her playing among the trees, pretending to be the wind. She’ll drop a pinecone or a small branch as a reminder. Then, off she goes to the deeper part of the forest where I can’t follow. She laughs. I can’t hear it, but I know she’s laughing.

This spirit of hers doesn’t frighten me. But there are times when the forest is as still as death. It’s upon these moments, in silent life, when I look behind me on the trail and shudder in my aloneness.

She returns, that’s what ghosts do, with her sound, a rustling, a stirring, a theme she buries deep inside me. Its tune reminds me that I’m also a ghost. At times, this makes me sad, to know I’m as invisible as her, but it’s her way of empowering me, to haunt. I can’t help but to be…a ghost.

I can tell you this one thing. It’s the only thing I really, really know. If you listen, you will also know you’re a ghost. Even when you’re in the middle of nowhere, look up, and see a jet leaving contrails high in the sky, above the wilderness, without making a sound.

 

 

Rain Jacket

You’ve had a few rain jackets.

Some of them have fallen apart, others weren’t a good fit from the get-go, a couple of them ran off with someone else.

Still, it’s hard to face the rain without one.

You’ve done that too, plenty of times.

It’s tough getting soaked.

 

Yet, at other times you’ve enjoyed letting the rain hit you smack-dab on the head while finding a new rain jacket.

Funny, aren’t you?

 

 

 

 

The Ocean Welcomes Me Back

She knows me.

Though, I haven’t seen

All that she is…..

All her anger and angst

Frozen at times, treacherous.

I know her

From the safety of my footing.

She can pull me, She pulls me, I am pulled

Not by ebb, but by longing

A craving for our meeting.

She allows me to see her.

I am but painted doll

Easily tripped into a fall.

We are cyclic, together.

Friends as we are

 

I see her placid face

Fierce, reflecting sky.

Her cheeks aged, rippled

As they were at the beginning.

She’s my crone

My witch of calm

Curled slightly

With wavy hair

Rebelling,,,,,

The straightening of her tides.

Her voice, mesmerized magnetic

To my metal ears.

Grounded by emotion

She nudges me

To a rhythm depth tone.

My womb vibrates

With her motion

At the same time

I am her birth.

 

Her movement is mine

I am she, like her,

The invertebrate

With liquid body

Skin of whatever color

You wish to call me

We are deep in wrappings

Around dense mineral

Earthen cultrate creatures

Terrestrial mud makers

That simple creation act

Pottery, clay, and figure

Shaped by moisture

Solidified by solar storm.

 

I feel like she is forever

Whose depths

I know by kindred.

We raise our spirits

(For me, this once)

To mist and cloud

Transform, evaporate

Until our salt

Is yanked from our souls

And we fall

To new fawns

of phosphorescence

 

 

If I were to say

“Listen to her”

You would have

Already heard

Come at a Price

Marquês de Pombal

The amount of alcohol in her drink.

The loudness of her laugh.

Soft shirt sleeves, brushing raw, coded skin.

Tender angst made her…

Makes her

Voice rise

Like dinnertime restaurant dishes.

All she said, forgotten.

All she would have said, remembered.

 

 

 

The High Lakes

The high lakes, frozen, clear,

Distort reflections of the mountain.

 

Old men with trekking poles

Filter through the forest.

 

All with some form of Achilles

And Homeric hunger pangs.

 

Drawn to recite soliloquies

To the unmoving cold.

 

Return to the parking lot

To winter tires and snow chains.

 

 

 

 

Alice

She sets a folded towel upon cool sheets, her ass makes a depression on the mattress.

Silence is never a full-proof method of understanding each other, even if hands are involved.

They touch, then they talk. Talking is never a full-proof method of…

His leg dangles off her bed. She gets up, opens the closet door.

There’s a mirror attached to the back of the closet door. She sees my reflection and doesn’t know it’s her. She touches the mirror, thinking, as she always has, that it will lead somewhere.

She leaves fingerprints.

 

 

 

 


.

 

 

The Town That Fell Into The Sea

The ocean hides, sitting low like the winter sun.

Its sound seeps through knolls

Through sand, vine, and footprints

Through trees rooted in confused snarl

Threading lightly between our anonymous hands

Our faces washed away

 

Until the lights of Highway 101

Reattach themselves to the coast range.

 

 

(Photo: Reflection from Tillamook Bay, during the oncoming night in the fog)

 

 

 

 

 

Above Multnomah Falls

This warm winter makes the creek scream like spring.

I dip my hand in, as far in as my long sleeves let me

Smooth stones, slick, cold life, years in my hands.

My fragile blood beats, knows the water by heart.

 

It’s good to be wary of the speed of the current

where it licks up upon the shore, sure feet are never a given.

It can bite you, gently, or with unforgiving teeth.

Its noise covers all voices, who’ve come beyond the falls

 

I head for snow level, it’s high for this time of the year.

Pine needles dot its surface like a mild sprinkling of spice.

Towhees, ravens, and buntings call with haunting songs

An echo between their voices, moves with the forest, downhill.

 

There, below, near the river and I-84, the creek is a maiden jumping.

Thousands of selfies, one tripod, a few point and shoots

attempt to catch her in the act of hitting the ground.

She refuses to pose.

 

 

 

 

 

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