by Seay Sandifer

Late for a hike
but still I go,
headlight and hat
in pocket — the defiance
of time on a Sunday —
to dissolve myself
in bishop pine and fir:
the welcome simplicity
of muscles in use, sweat
rivering down

Dusk begins to eat
at the edges of trees,
each curve of trail,
from the sepia tones
of brush and branch,
you emerge.

Scalloped wings, eyes
like water from a deep
well, you track my face
as you swoop
low, wings
a hand’s reach above
before you grace
an oak just ahead.

You on your branch,
me hushed in the dirt,
your eyes marking
mine, my eyes meeting
yours, and time
thinning like light from
an eyelash moon
until the woods feel
of anyone else.

Here in our unblinking
stare, something old
and quiet takes shape,
a thin place —
the neat ribs
of the worlds
a suspension
of self without
friction of thought,
as if I were standing
at a canyon’s far
edge: body angled
low, ears straining
for the ping of a rock
I’d thrown down
to the dark.

SEAY SANDIFER (she/her) is a poet who calls Oakland, CA, home, where she writes about owls, intimacies, and the evolving American landscape.

Photo: “France – Apocalypse above La Clarée” by Benjamin Preyre