Wind Turbines of Altamont Pass
Standing upright on barren hills
facing both sides of the freeway
catching the smog
spewing from automobiles
catching the wind in wild blades of steel
killing kestrels and red tailed hawks
generating energy for power grids
lighting the streetlights of grimy alley ways
lighting the traffic light that turns red.
You stop breathless at these colossi
the loneliness of gray metal against blue sky
and ask what part of you
feels like this–
what part of your loneliness
churns thoughts inside your head,
kills the flight of your imagination
but lights the dark alley ways of your doubts?
What part of you
has hardened to your own spirit
longing to find the nearby delta
where egrets wade and rivers converge?
What part of you stands on barren hills
thrashing your arms toward the universe
hoping that all this thrashing
does some good in the world?
As if fallen from the sky
their five points illuminate
the bottom of the sea.
They have lived for centuries,
blood orange, deep purple
with perfectly symmetrical arms
now tearing off
and crawling away
from their bodies:
“sea star wasting syndrome.”
Can you imagine what that feels like?
Maybe the bombing victims
of the Boston marathon know
when that blast
left so many with shattered limbs.
Our nation severed
in so many directions.
The ocean now acid.
Today I found a tiny headless snake
squirming on my back patio. “What?”
I look at my body- still intact.
I love my arms
when they swoosh the summer air
as I hike up Mt. Burdell.
The balance they create, the multitude
of purposes they serve.
Whole populations of sea stars
along the Pacific coast
vanishing like cities at night—
lights going out
one by one.
As their arms rip away
leaving their bodies in a limp mass,
I do my morning yoga- triangle pose,
my body five-pointed.
My left arm vertical toward the sky
from where stars fall.
Terri Glass first studied biology, but later received her MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast Writing Program at USM. She has taught creative writing in the Bay area for 25 years and is former director of California Poets in the Schools. Her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies including The San Diego Poetry Annual, ViVace, Adventum, The Fourth River, California Quarterly, and Ginosko. Terri is the author of The Song of Yes (2010) a book of nature poetry and has a book of haiku upcoming with Finishing Line Press, Birds, Bees, Trees, Love, Hee Hee (2015). You can visit her website at www.terriglass.com