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By crows tilting delta breezes, and ancient waterways composed of old stone,
deep in the ground;
by wild chicory blooming through abandoned homes;
by stone, flower and ground;

by live oak, blue oak and pure oak,
composed upon sloping ground;
by the single wolverine running wild in sierra mountains
by north fork middle fork and south fork,
by Feather, American and Sacramento
emptying in the sea;

by the birth of the field in roasting sun,;

by sticking sap of forests barked and owned outside town, along private roads;
by the pasture and the fence that collapse in a mass;
by pasture, fence and mass,

by the orchard rolling wrinkled apples past the gate
to the old fence post and into the untended well;
by the water tower;
by gate, well, and tower,

by the spar pole tree still with a spool, obsolete for years;
by the raven shifting on a pole outside the Noyo Bowl
by threads of water on blue clay;
by steelhead lunging in the spillway at Cleone;
by kings thumping bait off Jughandle;
above us on the swell, looking in;
by the memory of fishes;
by the ride upriver, into ancestral pools;
by the departed;

by the kitchen sink where my early balls were scrubbed in tender soap,
by the thunder and light of fire

by the salmon running side to side through nine bridge cool and deep
by the ringtail  cat  hypnotized through the tunnel into light

by the tunnel itself, by the labor it required, and the soil above it
by the forces that bend a man in half, by the man bent backward;

by the ducks when I was little,
waddling along,
and by the fruit trees left behind;
by the water dug
the manure
and the dogs, rolling through the woods in confidence;

by the ox cart wheel;
by the greased hole;
by the iron shoe;

by the board feet
doubled and tripled, and the grunt
and the fuel;

by the wind and grit and scales and fish guts
in the sun with fog ominous about a mile out,
by fog settling complete upon the land

by quail scattered at my hand;
by trout scowling in  pure water

by the great dark bull on the green grass;
by disarticulated rain lost in the passes
by Tom Bell Flat;
by Mistake Point;
Poverty Gulch, Hayshed Creek, Big and Little Rivers,
Matheson's Peak, Buckrest Ranch and the Bear Pen Road
by my lights and coins,
by the light breaking on minus tides;
by the red, green and brown weeds;
by the blue flesh of the sea trout
by sandy rubber sharkskin washed up on Ten Mile Beach;
by the broken glass and bullet holes and abandoned
steel shells of 63 Buicks and 48 milk trucks
and old school busses
wedged beneath trees along rivers,
by the bullheads fanning the muck at the bottom,
by the lone scorpion one finds in a boot;
by the bobcat track in the dust
by the heron gliding in the fog along the ragged shore entering the Noyo;
by the heavy Winesaps lit like paper lamps just before an autumn rain;
by the nightfish running in the moonlight;
by the seed they spit up on Usal Beach, buried in the sand;

by the twined roots of enormous trees underlying
what's left
by bruised oak firewood stacked in the converted
henhouse
by bridges made of two logs cabled together

crossing tributary creeks up into the Noyo Divide;
and over to Camp 28, deep in the woods;
by the footprints along cat roads;
by the places I can't get to because there isn't time.

Discuss    About the Author   Read More


About Crawdad Nelson


I try to focus on the writing. My influences are, among other things, the Solunar tables, the way white fir tops bend in a hard wind, the habits of ringtailed cats, the disappearance of Lew Welch, the latter career of Laura Riding, The Journal of Albion Moonlight, abalone in their isolated cracks, chanterelles in the early light of a rainy day, one-lane bridges, anonymous pullouts on the side of Highway 101, and fish.

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