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Fall 1994, Volume 11.3



Mary Gray

Mary Gray (B.A., University of Oregon) has published work in
Wilderness, Seattle Review, G.W. Review, Kansas Quarterly, and others.



Six trees fell,
laying their weights across
the rippled shore of the bay.
Waves came, lapping
and nipping, but the trees
did not move. Wind
tried to heave them north,
but the trees dug their limbs in
and held on. I found them
when they were worn to their grains,
chapped by last flakes
of bark, no needles or cones
to tell me their names.
The bay had spooled their limbs
with bleached marsh reeds
and scattered barnacles
over them. A brown wren
fluttered between their trunks,
chirping a steady song.
Licorice ferns drooped
from platforms woven
of mud and roots. Rain
had spread a faint glow
of moss. For all this,
I pulled an oyster shell
out of my pocket and balanced it,
still full of sand,
on the pewter loops
of a beetle's tunnel. 



A cow walks
to the cow-parsnips,
a cinnamon cow
with a white band
circling her middle.
Down her throat
the cow-parsnips go,
lacy umbels
of white flowers
pulled in, crunching,
from above her head,
ribbed stalks,
maroon bracts
bristling fuzz,
and the soft green
three-lobed leaves,
fringed with teeth.
Now the cow is finished,
she is satisfied,
she wants nothing more,
not even a stem
of redtop grass.
Into her body
the cow-parsnips
all have fallen:
milk of the world,
fruit of the meadow.


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