Almost more than anything I wanted, I wanted

to hold him, the infant boy, my arms in that cloudless sky

over Ruby Lake, but you know all this, how life looks

towards the farther end of the journey.


Once in a while, into the moment,

a line from the origin

reaches clear through us. I felt it almost,

skillfully, tenderly

passing through the young mother,

her arms, her voice

in the seat beside me,

as she shifted her infant,

he was bliss-faced, I could see,

from her right breast

to her left breast, she nursed him

in flight, all the way through—

a whisper, the line, a contrail

crossing a desert sky.


Where are they taking them?

Where on the dark flights

across the continent,

herded through the deserted terminals

are they taking the children?

To cages on the border?

My whole life you taught me

to wage peace.

Be the prince of owls,

hear the hidden thing.

Attend the deepening.

How can I help it

when feathers spread

from my shoulders? Talons

spring from my fingertips?


In a brightly illuminated,

soundproof room, mirrors

covering the walls,

every instant he looks,

he turns back into,

sees only himself,

the President, fixed

in infinite regress.

Barely space inside

to breathe.

In the internment camp

tent city cages on the border,

under guard, harsh arc lights,

children locked like dogs

in the desert. And it doesn’t

stop there, the apparatus

operates everywhere, operates in us:

put your shoes on the conveyer,

empty your pockets,

spread your legs.


I look at the moon out the window,

breathe the free air.

Two mosquitos watch me

watch two towering

Jeffrey pine trees turn to

ink, swooping forms—

an 18th-century

Chinese scroll painting

tall as twelve houses.

The pollen they spread

lands like a coating,

bitter, potent, solstice flour

dusting the open sill.


The baby, sleeping, pressed to his mother’s heart.

It’s not that they do or do not have names:

maybe stars exist

to create, for all of us, for anyone,

the possibility of naming.

Maybe that’s how

the light gets through.


Already, the three boys,

I wonder, can you see them?

Passing the moon on the skyroad

heading towards the forest?

The older, taller one walks farther away.

The younger two, bright, small, stop, turn.

Catch from the edge

of the blade the gleam

of the knife I test with my finger.