Jan/Feb 2006 Poetry

Two Poems

by Cy Dillon


When the dog star rises
And sets with the sun
It is time once again
To search the east
Slope of Middle Ridge
For the unmistakable
Orange-gold of chanterelles
Thrusting through loam and dead leaves

The earthy fruit went
Unharvested for generations
My people had forgotten
The sensuous taste of wildness
Preferring to reap what they had sown
Or worse
The flavorless offerings of stores

Neighbors pass in air-conditioned cars
Afraid, they say, to take the risk
Of eating something so strange
So far
From what they can be sure of

Gathering, I sweat right through my boots
And curse and laugh and scramble
Up gullies and under rhododendrons
Bridegroom giddy
Hands musky
As if they had been
Between the thighs of a goddess



Under a dry sun
The exhausted grass
Lies silent

In the shade of wasp-haunted churches
We mouth dusty prayers
While streams
Delve beneath the earth
Groping in the dark
For their lost songs

But the bright swallows
Having all they need
Throw their voices against
The empty sky
Trying to teach us
To sing like rain


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