s it our faces absorbed into shadow
that give countenance to the moon?
Songs have never said this is so,
nor informed recitations or ceremonies.

We can only see this stepping
from dream to the charcoal edge of morning,
contemplating the grandmother
scooping the broth of night with the horns.

The face in daylight lives in sun shadow,
present indefinite tense of utterances
unlikely to cohere with the clouds’ flecked
streaks or scallop mantles.

Each flower on the hillside is child
to the moon, an elder relation to memory,
faces absorbed in the shadows of smiles
of women inverting the flashing stars.

The shadow
with the grandmother is
the dwelling place, protector of forms
and shapes, the eyes and mouths
at the circle of consciousness
like a feline ruminating a doorway.

What goes around here, hand-held,
goose-winged, looking from the sky world
into the afterglow of the gibbous moon?
Where do the faces go absorbed past recognition
into the living realm of parallel gesture
where they move about and speak
according to desires or the murmurs of prey,
owl faces far off in the trees
calling their visions, repeating names?

A woman asleep on her side
half sees the full moon and
splits this knowledge
to absorb that other side.

From their path the ones leaving
can see other sides of the face,
are absorbed sometimes penetrating sleep
or send home envoys never confronted
by the sleeper to cajole and accompany and
to disrupt the agendas of continuities
fragmenting in front of the collected faces
dancing around the moon’s other shadows.

It is the clearing within the trees, isn’t it,
that is like the face of the moon?
That is like the eyes in the dream
one sees and cannot recognize,
the deliberate cycles of facial influence
bordered by cedar, by white willow and fir,
the rabbit-pocked snowface surrounding the home
and the hawk sentinels in hermeneutic pose?

All shadows are miasmic in grandmother’s light
scooping the broth, are drinking it
from the horns, our faces familiar to the liquid.

Isn’t it in the dreaming of shadows
making the faces, the absorbent countenance
realizing the obtuse flowers of song,
what the grandmother feeds us
to strengthen our singing,
our faces to the singing of her songs?

Over the Ocean
The Speed of Light is a Constant