Volume 4 Fall '06

Earthless
Irene Hays

We come into this world
as Wordsworth said
trailing clouds of glory
walking lightly
just above the earth.

then spend a lifetime
anchoring ourselves
to a place on the planet
ours by circumstance
or accident.

cling to fence posts
keep our ceilings
wear earth-gripping cleats
and hold out for
post-graduate degrees from
place-bound colleges.

root ourselves
frame sky with steel
tunnel through solid rock
and gather crystal, amethyst
and smokey quartz for grounding.

Over time we lose the trail
from that earthless realm
save one celestial strain-
phantom remnant of a tune
and all the words forgotten.


* * * * *

Officer Down
Irene Hays


She held him as he died by the roadside,
his head cracked open like a melon,
the scent of fresh blood
and honeysuckle intermingled.
Even as he died
she sensed the birth of her resolve
to quit this service to the law,
enforcing it after mishap or misdeed,
forcing her to be less than human,
to ignore her own warm pulse
that throbbed to a crescendo
and led her on to knowing
that blood and honeysuckle
mean more to her than
paid work well done.


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