Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bill Hotchkiss - Season Turn

Season Turn

At the end of two weeks of storm,
With snow and bright gusting wind—
Then the most astonishing rainpour,
Roadside ditches spill out onto pavement,
Lane lines disappear in a sheen of runoff—,
Then lightning to the north, strike
After strike, blazing the bellies
Of clouds that wink in silver orgasm.

I drive down from the college on the hill,
Note a few cars nosed into roadside brush,
I test my own brakes, I grasp at the wheel:
Avoid the Cedar Ridge road, go a longer way,
Stay lower and hope no sudden snowfall
Will obscure my vision completely.

But the rain stops, handfuls of stars
Where the clouds shatter, grow thin
And within an hour seem a stream
Heavenwide of mist fragments beaten
Eastward on the High Sierra, a half moon
Sows light on the wet oaks and pines.

Where Casa Loma turns off Rattlesnake,
I pull over, cross pavement on foot, intent
Upon gathering mail. I meet the three
Of them, veering from me but unhurried,
A doe great with life, and two yearlings,
Still following mother, they sidle
Away, steam rising from their backs,
Hooves slipping on slick asphalt,
Bound forward then, though nothing’s
Alarmed them, and tails twitching
They disappear under moon-spattered
Manzanita, the leaves pulsingly wet
This darkness of halfmoon and clouds.

At the end of the storm we have meeting—
Though our paths do not cross, but merely
Draw near, and that chance recognition
In the eyes of three deer and a human.

~ Bill Hotckiss teaches at Sierra College in Grass Valley, CA. He has published many volumes of poetry, many novels, and has written some primary criticism on the poets Robinson Jeffers and William Everson. And he is my friend.

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