Gary Palmer © 2003
The way the water glides down open paths
of granite into deeps of afternoon,
the way it gutters a throaty roar,
clearing its mouth of a thousand stones.
That is the way we all might go,
cutting loose from the tarns
of our magnificent placidity
and speaking ourselves over the smoothness
of the lip where glaciers have prepared the ground.
The polished slabs spill
down and down past stray and strong
Sierra treeslodgepole, whitebark, foxtail pine
and the stream spreads thin about their roots
in robes of white, in airy sheets
that put this bed of rock to rest.
Copyright © 2003
Paul J. Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. His work has appeared in Poetry, Solo, Best American Poetry 1996, and Best Spiritual Writing 1999. Chapbooks include Poison Oak (Mille Grazie Press, 1999) and The Deep and Secret Color of Ice (Small Poetry Press, 2003), the latter chosen by Jane Hirshfield as winner of their annual competition.