How the body must know before the spirit.
How, on waking, maybe weeks before,
one ankle crumples as foot touches floorboards
gritty with river silt; how before first light
the head refuses to swivel, knowing
when it does, the empty side of this large room
remains an emptiness. Sometimes, the number of days
is a diaphanous cloud of gnats,
undulating against hot air, refusing
to let a body alone. I cannot recall details.
How the fingertips, long gone from that white room,
feel still petechiae on the underside
of one arm; feel stillness. How the ribcage
caved slightly. How breath slows. How this body
is now a receptacle for spirit,
begins to grieve before the paper reprints each
tribute, always begun with name
this heart that still beats-not each one that does so no longer-
becomes an eagle with wings spread
at the top of the blackened, dying spruce.
How the eagle begins to ululate. How it carries,
gritty with longing, across the taiga,
how the keening and the wind together are still
not enough to call down his mate.