I plead with pine trees. Cry
like the day my grandmother was gone.
Can’t stamp the cramp out of my left foot
or forget the black truck outside the neon diner,
the cross-eyed man’s mistake:
that we were rurals who rejoice in another’s kill.
Look in the back. There’s a big bear he’s shot!
If I were native, I’d chant the stilled ragged breath
below the silver rim into heaven.
How not to hate the marksman or dull-witted man who wanders away?
Oh what do the Buddhists say? Om mani padme hum.
There must be a great bear who gathers the wounded into whole.
I’ve often looked for her but even the night sky has a hunter.
Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Ursa in the backbed:
Find your sure path, as I have,
in the dark and limitless spaces between stars.
Ann Cefola is the author of Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press) and the translation Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions). A 2007 Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient, she also received the 2001 Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. .
(author retains copyright)