Fall 1991, Volume 8.2
Poetry

CHUCK GUILFORD

Lochsa Morning
 
Wake to the sound of the river
outside your window,
to the red clouds of dawn.
Since there's no coffee this morning,
you'll settle for whiskey
chased down by some beer and a brownie.
Tape up a sparking wire
near the truck's distributer cap.
Watch a black-tailed ground squirrel
run off with a pine cone.
Yesterday, you saw deer, bear, and elk,
a pair of them crossing the river
just before sunset
up near milepost 143
where you caught that big cutthroat.
Imagine this life is your own life,
this day is today.
Go down to the river
and rinse off your face.

For Tomorrow
 
Try not to walk your name
in every word
you waver forward,
not to climb your heart again.
Or not to speak your blood
alone or ever
believe in echoes
of a half-acknowledged dream.
 
Try as you may, your window opens
on a life
you cannot change,
on a role you cannot claim.
Inch forward into your shadow.
Trust the muscles
of your brain.

 
A Chinese Puzzle

One piece looks like a branch
or else a river
set stark against a rock
or hard grey sky,
Or something cold
that seems to be a temple.
An ancient monk sits
calmly by the door,
His saffron robe
like dancing sunlit water.
He mocks your consternation
with his eyes.
Before you even entered
you already were confused,
but now with all these tiny
lacquered pieces
You have to settle down
and concentrate. Next time
you'll be more careful.
That's the secret.
When you think you understand,
begin again.
 
----------