Elizabeth Carothers Herron
dPress < 2006 > Sebastopol
20 pp hand sewn
Cover photo by Dennis Fuller
Title page collage by Oberon
In the bowl of the Big Dipper, the Lesser Lion's diamond
appears, faded slightly, ragged-maned,
under a full moon ascending
over the Mayacamas, where Coyote made the world
with a feather. Clouds gather
behind the plum boughs
and apple blossoms. In the crevices of the body,
petals open and fall to the ground.
Haiku of the hips. Venus
rising at 6:02 a.m., out of sync with Mars
who sets at 9:25 p.m.. Lesser Lion claws the sky.
The body sighs. Petals fall
in the crevices.
Northwest winds along the continental edge. West of Venus
blowing east across the fault. The Eastern Pacific current
traversing south along the shelf; gyre of salmon
swimming round the clock. The shelf
falls steeply into blue salt.
10 to 20 knots from the southwest.
Prayers to the air may be uttered at dusk, at moonrise,
at midnight, again at dawn. Regardless of showers.
Partly cloudy skies obscure the stars circling
our earth, the Lion's paws grip cumulo nimbus. Petals
fall. The shelf drops sharply into blue salt. Her crevices
salty sweet. Blue heart, blue lake
The fault line runs along the coast, one plate
encountering another in a rift
a half-mile wide. Imagine the deep cleft
where the Pacific has been sliding for eons
under the North American. Up
in the Aleutians, the plates
ease their way with less friction
than you might think
considering the weight and occasional bursts
of volcanic activity in these
hot zones — the hips, tongue
and southern areas
of the body, calling Venus
to rise behind veils
of smoke. Ash
falls in the crevices,
building up over time
into layers of rock.
The Laetoli footprints. A place
exploding from center — bliss
in magma rising, easy
and red as Mars, through all weather.
6-foot swells, westerly winds,
the falling, the sinking, the unrelenting
Volcanic calderas in a region near
the south pole of Io. Also cliffs
and lava flows partly obscured
by gauzy mists. This moon
spins in the orbit
of an expansive planet — Jupiter,
the open heart, the overflowing
coffer, bank account, the kingdom's king.
Io circles in a passion expressed
by her vulcan possibilities. She squanders
heat, she twists under her mists
of steam. The king smiles, confused.
Isn't that his daughter? Mystified by her
ecstatic expression. But Io
blind to his uncertainty, faithful
to his insistent gravity, leans
and spins and casts her billows —
too small, none the less, in spite of her
lolling calderas, in spite of her regional heat,
in spite of her smoke,
twisting and rolling.
Deep in the rift zone, a slow heat
builds, which remains undetectable. The feet
tremble slightly as the crust shifts.
A weak high-pressure ridge
builds over the region
ahead of an approaching trough.
4-foot waves and 6-foot west swells lift
from the ocean and tidal pools of the body, pulse
of the salt born blood
in 20-knot winds. Sunny skies.
Temperatures 60 to 70 degrees.
West of the Big Dipper's bowl, the Lynx,
a long faint constellation, crouches above Leo.
The Magellanic Clouds continue to swirl majestically.
Europa remains under ice.
Volcanic activity requires a certain submission
to longer lines, lapses in syntax, the brief pause,
between notes in birdsong. Rest
like the space between stars, or
where uncertainty hinges, where Coyote
waves his feather like a wand. Here,
someone whispers. Not like Jupiter who sets
at 8:46 p.m. as if he were aging. Io and Europa
urgent under ice, under hot lava,
spitting and freezing. Still
the waves push and suck,
the swells rise and fall,
heartbeats rolling the sea's drum.
Mars sets at 9:25. Partly cloudy skies.
Dazzling fireworks in the constellation Aquilla
where excitement rivals the ring and the streets
of Pamplona. Spanish guitars and the sparks
of castinets. Possible showers
over the northern counties, slowly moving south.
Rings of glowing hot gas. Unimaginable
here in the cool tremors
of new leaves and fresh grasses.
Streamers of cooler mists, the unforgettable
longing, the ardor of distant bodies,
of light and the pure pull of gravity
greater with proximity, despite the heat,
despite the ice, Europa seething,
Io in her scarves.
Six billion years from now pillars of dark gas
Sparkle announcing another star birth,
whether known or not, still the far light arrives
or arriving still, like desire, swelling
to 6 feet, sweeping toward shore,
swirled in the body's mists, the humors
of passion. Early galactic formation,
nascent embryonic events a million
light years hence becoming visible. Now
the morphology of genesis reveals itself,
the evolution of divine desire,
hurling fragments of shifting matter,
black holes and murk, the indelible print
of first impressions. Breath-taking views
deeper than ever into the heavens.
The iambic heart, the deserts of longing, the swift
and fleeting satisfaction. Here, someone whispers,
heaven is here.
A cold front following a low-pressure trough
sweeps through the Empire
with locally heavy rain.
Black tail deer shelter below new leaves
and lows of 50 degrees are possible
in the pockets where cool temperatures
drop the body to sub-zero for the season.
The bright Capella de Auriga, the Charioteer,
sits high in the northwest, his thighs gripping
the sky, hands on the empty reins,
sharing the heavens briefly with Jupiter and Mars.
Venus rising early settles back
to a chilly sky as the heart surges
seaward in moon-pulled darkness.
Capella de Auriga circles the pole as always
searching for his lost horses, round and round
night after night, hopelessly caught
in his unending arc, year after year.
The Milky Way ribbons behind mostly cloudy skies
humming all night while they listen
for the rain, stars spattering behind
closed lids, blessed by the long
bones of darkness.
Rain in the early morning hours, locally heavy
and turning to scattered showers.
Venus rises at 6 a.m.. Petals
curling back on themselves like the moon
after its raucous blare a few nights past.
At dawn, petals litter the grass
below the apple tree, a thin confetti. Venus,
her crevices effaced by distance, closes her lamp
against the northwest winds.
Temperatures over the region dropping
to 40s and 50s in the overnight low. Her trajectory
does not waver through the long day.
20 to 30 knot winds. 6-foot northwest swells.
Partly cloudy skies.
Certain errant clouds. The long bones
grow light, lifting toward Io and Europa.
High tide at 4:30. 3.9 feet. Haiku of the
rift widens imperceptibly
grinding its flanks,
a broken place inexorable inside lifting
hips, belly. Tsunami of the heart, throat open.
Savannah sparrow before sunrise. Prayers
uttered at dawn. Coyote yipping in the Mayacamas.
Blue salt, blue lake. Northwest winds.
Reaching inside for the blue heart, the long bones,
the star, the prayer. Venus sets.
An off-shore trough carries cold winds with an overnight low.
Preserving light for 35,000 years at star-birth, assassination
follows war and border conflict
in the downtown streets not far from his home
while walking the dog. Mostly sunny skies. Highs
in the 60s. Privatization of air time, the trees lifting off
into clear skies, branches
belonging to the general public. The state
claims no knowledge of the incident. Temperatures
warmer as the week progresses. Sky
closes as petals, fallen curl
into themselves. Vanishing. Moon. Dog
in the cemetery, sniffs the headstone, pees
on the artificial flowers.
Apple blossoms cling fragrant to boughs bent
to touch the heavy earth
in the orchard. Blue longing.
Blue lake, blue salt, blue
Pacific. Eastern current clockwise in the Northern Gyre.
Trough of low pressure. Today's highs in the 70s.
Overnight lows to 50 degrees.
Jupiter sets at 9:23, taking his daughters
(in their scarves, with their wide calderas) home.
Lying down in the long bones of night. Darkness.
After upwellings and rifts, the slip-faults of the day,
toward the high tide
at dawn. Venus rises (5:57 a.m.). 9 foot northwest swells.
Whales migrating north swim the fault line
where continental shelf drops into blue
blue salt. Increasing clouds. Possible
showers late in the day. Late
in the cleft of the subduction zone
something pulls under. Petals on the body, the skin,
the garden, falling
into the tangle of hair, the crevices.
Afternoon and the long shadows. Night
and the skeletal bed bearing the weight of sleep, the long
bones of darkness growing light.
Moon swinging high. Pacific plate grinding under
the North American. Ring of Fire
rumbling and drowsing. Venus dreaming
after a night of clouds.
Disk of the Milky Way. Mars gone to bed — the blue
blue. Hands brushing salt, curled fetal as the rose.
Waking to a trough of low pressure, overcast skies,
cooler temperatures, a weak storm system
spinning slowly against the current
of the salmon gyre. 11 foot northwest swells, 4 foot waves.
Northwest winds 10 to 20 knots. Limbs curled
closed as petals. Chance
of showers. Still the morning trees sing
with sparrows. Wings and wind blur to lyric
limbs unfolding petals
from a nest of sheets, hips, arms, hands
and the morning. Patchy fog and low clouds spreading inland,
smoothing the topography of Laguna, Mayacamas,
Valley of the Moon.
Coyote's feather sweeping over the beginning of the world.
Knotted sorrow of sighs through alder and willow,
walnut and buckeye.
Venus rises. Partly cloudy skies.
An upper level trough of low pressure. Winds
15 to 25 knots. Moth wings. The dense cluster
of very old stars forming a halo
around our galaxy's central bulge. Lifting
and falling, breath, opening and closing of a moth's wings.
Sunny skies predicted over the region. The notes
of a violin. Whistle of the kettle. Through the window
the rosey flutter of a house finch at the eave.
10 foot northwest swells. 5 foot waves.
Her petals. The cool air.
Current sweeping south along the coast. Cold upwellings.
Microscopic life. Zooplankton, krill. Shifting sand below
blue salt. Clouds blocking the late sun. Swells to 7-feet.
Cool sand. Collars turned against northwest winds.
Temperatures in the 60s inland. Overnight
lows to 50 degrees.
Sunday morning. Slightly offshore winds. Leaves
pattern the curtains, breaking the frame.
Shadows across the edges.
Doors open. Sparrows. The small domestic sounds
of house finches at the eave. Petals. Unspoken longing
honeysuckle sweet. Last quarter of the moon
before dawn in the east. A pattern repeats
with variations. All night long
their folded arms/wings, tucked heads. Petals
soundless descent. Venus rising in the last hush.
West to northwest winds 10 to 20 knots. 3 foot waves.
7 foot northwest swells. Arcturus in the east after dark
pointing to a faint smudge in the Big Dipper,
a fuzzy globular cluster
light years away. Mars sets at 9:22.
The silent subduction sliding
plate to plate. Thigh to thigh, the one
diving under the other. Salmon dance of under/over.
Blue salt. Rose and honeysuckle. Petals drifting.
A high pressure trough
warm, moving east.
Midway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.
Skin warm with dreams against smooth sheets.
Venus rises at 5:53 still
slipping backward into darkness. A cold front
moves across the Empire, partly cloudy and a chance
of blossoming in the 60s and 70s. Northwest swells.
Hips, thighs lifting
lunar calderas. Moth wavering slight
in the pocket of spring over wild radish, white
and lavender petals — confetti
of tiny handkerchiefs; partly cloudy west to northwest
10 to 20 knots. Rose flutter of the heart,
breathless and banked against blue blue
murk and the joy of congealment.
Pacific Current stable
at 50 degrees, running south
along the coast, the cleft, the crevices. Deep
currents raising microscopic nutrients. Whispers
through layers of blue salt. Petals opening
and falling. Onshore flow
ahead of the front. Overnight in the
absence of Auriga, Taurus, Orion, lows
in the 30s and 40s. Wings, limbs, breath
nested and turning.
The sun sets north of west.