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Thursday, October 14, 2010

What is the collective noun for a group of memories?
Contained by mountainous bones thrust up through a continent or two, 
the high steppe, 
a liquid sea of mud, 
above which floats a skin of woven roots and flowering grasses
in the warmer months. 

At the foot of every yak is planted everything they will ever eat. 
Pushed down the seeds just enough by hooves made heavy just enough
to push them down just enough,
forever and anon.

We find our family of yak this 40th spring
growing on their backs tomorrow's dowry fabrics,
between their ribs a wedding banquet,
in those udders the resultant children's milk for tea.
In the life of a yak, it will:
chew, mill, plant, fertilize, sit, stand, root, rut, play.
These, and more, are their "behaviours".
Not much more we can say?

Our herder, high above and far away sits still.
He owns the providence of every head.
The fine and the lame. Every one his intimate memory.
He could tell you the very blades of grass each bull had planted
(although he'd be wrong).

But this year, now, he sees one thing down there.
Only one thing.
Those distinct hulks mulling below have become blurred.
That each individual memory of them has melted too,
and become a warm mud.
One thing floats just above.

Our herder takes the spear of grass from between his teeth.
He strips the seeds between the nails of this forefinger and thumb.
He pushes them down into the earth between his feet.

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