Approaching August by Sandra Alcosser
Night takes on its own elegance.
The catenary curve of snakes,
the breathing, pentagonal-shapes
flowers, the shadblow pliant
and black with berries. Orion
rises in the east, over
fat green gardens, and all the meanness
We canoe the river
in the amethyst hour before dark.
Twenty-five billion beats to each heart.
Two passengers fish, two paddle
past the chalk caves, the banks
of aster, the flood plains dense
with white tail and beaver.
We are lost near midnight, a moonless
Summer evening, midseason in our senses,
midlife. The sky overhead like glitter ice.
The water round swollen cottonwoods
pulls like tresses and torn paper.
Today I had a letter from France.
"What a truly civilized nation," my friend wrote
as she drank her morning coffee with thick cream
in a country cafe near Avignon. "To my right
a man in a black tuxedo sips raspberry liqueur
And here on the same latitude we lie back at dawn
on the caving bank of the Bitterroot.
A shadow slips through the silver grasses
And then a moth.
And then the moon.