from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

32.5794° N, 89.8700° W

It still catches me off guard when it happens.

Gradual depletion / months seeping away / slumped over a desk.

Suddenly, in the small of my back — an invisible hand

in my left ear — a breathless whisper.

The voice offers the long-familiar instruction:

“Turn the worlds inside-out.”

The soft reminder arrives like an echo across a great valley.

I rise, turn out the light, lock the door.

My own quartermaster, I grab some trail supplies

and head out to where the pavement isn’t welcome.

Unencumbered by fleeting here-today, gone-tomorrow demands,
this heart-mind passes through cypress knees like a newborn —
raw, tender, hungry, raging against the cold world.

Another season.
Another circuit.
Vast sepia sky reflected in the tannin deep.
Cypress knees appear as wayward travelers
or ghostly exiles on the Trail of Tears.

Just down from the watery gap at Yockanookany,
visions arrive of Muskogee, Choctaw, Spaniards.
People being marched, chained as chattel.
Others left as bone offerings to earth by bayonet, cannon fire, musket ball.
Spirals upon spirals falling into line.
Long gone travelers plying their wares, chasing schemes and dreams.

A midwinter gust changes direction.
It must be what the old timers call a trickster breeze.
For a moment, I think I can smell the arrival of Spring.

None of these visitors stay for long.

I am at peace again.

The halo of this poet’s dreaming-body has somehow been re-lit.

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Mesmerized / MESMER / Roy Mattson