Michael Spring

turning pages

because she tells me the sound 
of turning pages arouses her
I can't recall what page I originally wanted 
to show her

all that matters now is this sound – this susurrus –
this soft plosive sigh as a page lifts 
and falls  –

a sheet of paper peels back for another – 
my fingers slide across the paper 
as if it were her skin

into the mountain

the way the velvet ant pulls
my attention to follow her
scarlet light under a flap of moss

the way an amethyst
cracked from a thunder egg
takes my mind
into visceral crystalline landscapes

I enter the mountain
into the past    
no, it is the present       or future

into the ancient light     of darkness
where sound and scent build landscapes
and mountain pathways

where I can finally see myself   
as animal     as particles      as numerous      
elements      as the world

a gate fastened between two trees

I scan the pines and ferns for cameras
for booby traps and no trespassing signs

there's no evidence of a fence
no evidence of anything else human

the gate's weave of branches are made 
of snake-like pieces of madrone fastened with sinew

did someone whisper? 
the shape of a tree becomes a person
a boulder the size of a bear seems to be breathing

if I were to walk through this gate
whose place might I be entering?                                  
angel? demon?  a madman wielding a chainsaw?

because I’m thinking this 
I want to prove to myself there’s nothing to fear
I create my own chasms:
a pit of snakes made from my flesh –
a burning river made of my blood

no, I won't be deterred 
I unlatch the gate

I open my hands to become birds

fear makes me doubt
your hands will not be birds, but you
have already shown them to me

I shouldn't doubt
what I see –

an entire forest of birds!

Michael Spring, of Southwest Oregon, is the author of four poetry books and one children's book. In 2016 he won a Luso-American Fellowship from DISQUIET International. His poetry books have won several awards, including The Turtle Island Poetry Award, and an honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including: Atlanta Review, Crannog, Flyway, Gávea-Brown, Midwest Quarterly, Otoliths, Poetry New Zealand, and Spillway. He is a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Flowstone Press.
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