Gray Fox Crossing
He leads the way to the borderland between
fallen leaf and winter, where the soul waits
for first snow, change coming with clouds
between this life and next.
If you live long
enough, you leave yourself behind, once heavy
now impossible light, the impatient breath
released, rising in a mist, and you find
a strange uneven peace.
You have a choice
to follow his horizontal tail, the bushy rudder
steering between kingdoms and seasons
of flesh, the snow falling from limbs,
dead weight lost to space.
his tracks make a straight line, each one placed
within the last, this world in perfect balance
with realms unseen where knowing goes,
all obstacles permeable on icy ground.
unnoticed, so you see him because he allows you,
because you walk with shadows in the woods
and talk to all creatures, great and Grimm,
sacred and savage.
Welcome when you need him
more than safety or certainty, the shell softens
because you're ready to shapeshift yourself
with magic, traveling in worlds of beings
invisible and wanting to be found.
in the hollow
in mist and midnight
ghosted with starlight
slip between aspen
silent as vapor
streaming from nostrils
of forested dark
the world silenced
full of phantom sound
round and black as an eye
in our hollow
probe between markers
of eternal night
as fear without reason
our world stretched
long and tight as a navel cord
sharp as shattered bone
(or do you ever feel like you're being watched?)
The snail within her spiral shell grows the universe on her back,
our cosmos condensed and brought to Earth, pushing a tiny galaxy
forward another inch, away from long grass rippling by the river
where ceaseless, reckless surging, always threatens, until she rests
beneath the shadow of a giant's chair, head lifted with tentacled eyes
waving, senses someone between her world and the sky above, who
sees her only house tremble, raising and lowering with each minute
and infinite breath, taking the air into herself, the life we all share.
Steven De Frates lives in Phoenix, AZ, and works at the Scottsdale Public Library. He has recently published poetry in Four Chambers and has a self-published novel "Daughter of Troubled Sleep" at Amazon. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.