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To Waken as Field
“all eyes, the creatures of the world look out into the Open”
                                  like Dante covered in pollen
    or stand here in air as a crow sometimes
                 over cars and carrion
bright as Orion unknown, unknowable on wind-draft
                                                                     what is “a graven image”
          freely given
                         forbidden in fields of disregarded
                                                         sowbugs and root-hairs
                              our soul a worn shoe
                                                          milk-light poured over stone
           grained through with thought’s difficult mica

                                     there is no metaphysics
                                                                that is not also trees

          whether we could echo each other ear to ear voice to vanishing


                   unbaptized, undocumented
                            stars watch us more intently in
                                                  bright daylight when we cease
                      to believe in them
                                their rapture field
            gone suddenly Osiris-bright, raptors
                                                          seen and unseen conversing
                            over meadow ellipse

                                           o spider—“mind swung by a grass blade”
             I lost my way or my way lost me a chrysalis imploded

                                       I tremble I shake the wind of me

neither reasonable nor unreasonable, like all wild beasts day-glo in black-light


    BART trains flash redwoods
                                      cirrostratic locution
                                                  I can’t tell stories in the right order
            urgency of beginning again               each moment overthrown

                                             borne through the breathing pores of
      cordate leaves
                       stigmata, stomata

                    we are not as broken as I feared nor as whole
                                                  no other choice but each other
       I  + Thou
                                 the risk of
                                                          aorta   aria

       my mouth your ears whose words stream our mother tongue green


nor any kind of lightness that will carry us
                        but some scraped down, scarred
                knit and unknit
                                                knotted flux felt in the real
                                      felt in the non-allegorical
                          digestion and assimilation of human action human error
human hindrance hunger the hate the hate the hate as though our spirit
           became a gold-finch

                         in cacophonic blur of motion

                                             whose wings do no one further harm

      warheads gone astray, neurological, milk-thistle and warblers in fields


                       in cities fall-out
                                 even the touch of my hand
is toxic to some
               lichen, fish, seabirds
                                   to nations where I’ve never been

                                              sorrow’s narrows widen paradise
                     not one soul turned away
                                                           from green earth’s complicities

     howling down canyon along willows, a fiction of fact set against the skin


in thin shadows a gray fox approaches his eyes bright with survival
 with more than survival—curiosity, a kind of haggard happiness
                           and how silently
           he vanishes into
                                          a hairsbreadth

                                there’s a man living rough
    who calls and calls for his lost dog
                       shivering in poison oak, then back into street
             traffic, sees us
                                             eyes rinsed through with holy

  late at night then later it’s late though the planets rest not their violet wake


“mind swung …” a shift on Pound’s “when the mind swings by a grass blade / an ant’s forefoot shall save you / the clover leaf smells and tastes of its flower” read in Donald Revell’s Invisible Green

images by the author and in collaboration with Thom Cowen: painted over postcards from McSweeney’s Greetings from the Ocean’s Sweaty Face

Meredith Stricker is a visual artist and poet working in cross-genre media. Her forthcoming collection, re-wilding, was awarded the Dorset prize from Tupelo Press. Her other books of poetry include Our Animal (Omnidawn Open Book Prize) and Anemochore (Newfound Press). She co-directs visual poetry studio, a collaborative that focuses on architecture and other projects to bring together artists, writers, musicians, and experimental forms.