From my four corners the grey cranes appear
and, as if wingless, march off like old
soldiers, their rifle-beaks bobbing up the walls
high into the blue shadows of sleep.
I add up the simple sadnesses of their leaving.
Beneath each of us the earth's deep fires
breathe in, then burn brighter with every sudden
rift, ever little addition fo gritty fuel.
And now I sink down upon it all: the fallen birds,
our warm pallet of earth. And soon the stream
lies down through me. Rattling and spewing, it sends
rocks tumbling. Wild lilies break loose, travel.
There is too much everywhere
not to observe.
Far into morning, sheep
on every finger--Dorsetts
and Corriedales--my hand
is a meadow.
* * * * *
No Starling (2007). She has also published three short story collections.
Van Winckel has received two National Endowments for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize and The Midland Authors Award. She has served as the Poet in Residence at the University of Montana and the University of North DAkota. She currently teaches in the MFA in writing programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Spokane, WA.