I learn the valley as I know
my own lined palms, the grip
of vine at summer and how
it tosses in a western gale.
I become the dim limb gnarled
over twilit grove, my face a fake,
trick of the light. My body is
the hill’s body also, a burren
stumbled among amber grasses.
Stuck and safe come from
the same rooted neighborhood,
but I am too old to move on now.
The night in this place creeps my veins
like still waters, and I stand
on this piece of earth. When cries
rise from the far pass, I know which
voiced wind is calling, know
what kind of sacrifice to leave
so it dies back down into quiet.
The ancients here are a danger
I can wear as armor, let them take
the flurry of my heat and breath,
bend it into seasons, storms,
a ward against humans
and their animal violence.