This poem of mine has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I am honored and thrilled, needless to say. It was written in Seattle.
What My Fingers Know
Traveling the north country,
let me have my weather, my hammer, my horse.
Let the thin-skinned air
quiet the furnace of my thick body,
cool my sandy head beneath its hat.
Northward I ride with open arms,
northward I am bound, and there I may remain.
My desire now is a simple life of quiet peace
among broad clear rivers.
Queen Anne’s lace sways along the stony path
and my fingers know that I am
traveling the north country,
and there I may remain.
We all sleep, we all breathe,
we all need the glitter of midnight
once in a blue-moon while, we need our memories.
Let me listen to the speech of birds,
let me ignore the weather report
and feel beach-grass against my legs,
near shadows close to slumbering driftwood
illuminated by a wounded sun cut off at the knees.
My old north country,
on your strong back and sturdy shoulders
I was born, and my mother was born,
and much of my family has blossomed and composted.
We all sleep, we all breathe, my old north country.
Let me have my bones, crows, rocks and rain.
Let my smoke cut through the drizzle
and leave a mark on the windowpane.
The sea stacks along the coast
draw me ever nearer to my hammer, my horse,
as I put my hands in the earth,
as I dip my feet in the water.
My hands are the bread of my life
and my fingers know who I am.
Let me have my weather, my hammer, my horse.