Seven Cataracts

(For M.R.C.) 

She alighted like the tiger lily swallowtail,

Danced like the delicate damselfly,

Lounged like the lingering lizard,

Then perched on the low branches 

Of a mighty piñon pine,

Like a naked and downy young hawk

 

She climbed ever higher  

Into the dragon-like tree 

That has never left this stream’s side,

And there she was lost to me.

From her vantage a mere blink away

And an owl’s clock-like hoot 

Between the long winter nights

And short spring days

 

And as she lilted her needles in the breeze 

Always quietly listening

To the wind and whistling of the birds,

The tap tap tapping of the flicker,

While all around her sturdy roots

The whole Sky Island world

Is gently washed away

 

She went to the stream without seeking,

And the stream came willingly to her side

The way I did when she was the snowmelt 

That smooths the marbled granite,

Detaching atom by steadfast atom,

And pulling them, helpless and whooping, 

Into the alluvial flow

 

And to think I sought 

To bring her, there

Where she has forever,

Patiently, awaited my love.

 

Alan Ruiz Berman