I’m Doing It, I Cried out, I’m Writing a Nature Poem—I’m Dancing | Chaun Ballard

3 mins read

The warm waters of the Kasilof got me dreaming about salmon or 
I’m dreaming about salmon in the warm waters of the Kasilof or 

I’m dreaming I am holding you—holding onto you like you are one long embrace 
You are one long embrace I’m dreaming of holding like a reflection on water 

like a dream of summer—a run of sockeye—in a river of mirrors—a thousand shattered plates 
used for dancing—a wedding dance of a thousand dinings returning like salmon, purposeful 

to a house of mirrors we sit within drinking what is only brewed ginger in a kettle used for 
brewing only ginger and nothing else—The old lady serves it hot like fire 

In the back of our throats, a river settles hot like fire—several thousand years of good luck— 
The walls of her house less wall than mirror in an ice-sculpted scene of Alaska 

when the city is vodka on rocks—and everything receives and is receiving light 
as snow releases a branch of starlings who bathe in the sun 

who dive into the ocean of un-melted mounds leftover by the plower who releases 
forever in the minute hand turning somewhere between the index and thumb 

used to inject a needle in the well-spring of the body while neighbors flock to the sidewalk
like a chattering of starlings—or the sidewalk is a chattering of starlings—or the chattering 

is our neighbor beneath us and her three-year-old schnauzer chattering back 
They are a couple married with no children chattering like one is untrained in the art of quarantine 

The children shout and run and they are our neighbors and we are their neighbors without children untrained in quarantine—The fly has returned to our opened window and the aphids are packed 

and ready to leave—It is March and the aphids should really be going—We have held them 
all winter—and at the window, heat—(As for you, I mean not to detain you much longer— 

This poem is not a garden—You will be released)—Detained in their yard, the children are starlings
Their parents are aphids in a glow of neem— 

My love, we are snow-melt when all the snow is fallen— 

My love, the snow melts like all the world is fallen— 

My love, like all the world is fallen 
in love 

from our rooftops— 

the snow melts from our rooftops— 
My loves, 

when all the snow has fallen from our rooftop, 
dare I call you “spring”?