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What is Life?

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset."
Crowfoot's last words (1890)
.....................(Blackfoot warrior and orator)

The sun flows across the land, slips
through my hand like the flash of a firefly
in a warm summer night when I am quiet,
when I am ready for the demons of my sleep.

In the cool evenings, little shadows run
across the prairie grass as the sun falls
into the heart of the earth. Chasing summer,
they slide quietly into the rich soil.

The brown earth succumbs to white
and the breath of a buffalo captures
the crisp winter sun that rides mountains
in its low glide across the wide sky.

The shadows become impatient as the sun
pulls snow from the earth, climbs higher
above the mountains, urges green towards
the waiting buffalo and anxious fireflies.

20

Hand and Eye

I flung a bright eye into space,
the other into dark earth.
My hand was confused
and painted pictures
became a fresh reality,
a yin and yang engaged.

I closed one eye, my brush
slowed and languished
in a singular universe
until it became rigid
with repetition.

I slept and dreamed
eternal darkness.
I awoke and stared
into a sharp sun.

I painted
with a blind hand.

.............---

Looking into a graveyard

Flesh has fallen away. Trees
rustle in a cool ending to green.
A gray-haired man collects
burnt memories; a short history
of a reckless sun when small birds,
now grown, fluttered
in a warmer sky. Departure
is inevitable as the sky falls
and drifts between the spaces.

21