East Washington, Late Winter


The sky is a web of cirrus,

ice prisms flank the setting sun.

It’s raining by now in Seattle,

but here, in east Washington,

the wind is warm and dry,

long furrows of incubating wheat

converge on the Horse Heaven Hills.

Crest and dip, the undulating road.




Something Like an Invisible Bird

(Picton, New Zealand, February 1977)


Something like an invisible bird

has flown between them,

its cry a desolate sound

heard faintly as if drifting

across wide waters.

They cannot look at each other,

so stare at the ferry moored

below them, on the wharf.

There, a man runs and waves

to his family already on board,

children jostle for a place in line.

Around them, sparkling blues

of Queen Charlotte Sound

and subtle greens

of Marlborough hills

are fading into dusk.

But something like an invisible bird

has flown between them,

and neither can say what it was.

It has made them strangers

on this island far from home.