Your Treasures Are Marbles

Your treasures are marbles, matchbox cars, old maps,
fly fishing lures you find in the reeds.

Hers are shells, antler shards, acorns,
the tip of a raccoon’s tail found in mulched leaves.

You give her what you value most—
a mayfly nymph broken off someone else’s line.

She puts it with an antler bit, and they are two fragments
rattling together, one snapped off, one shed.

Somewhere the fisherman has unsnagged his pole
and the buck has grown back its rack.

When he startles the stag in a clearing
he is stunned by its frame.

When it lurches into the woods
he looks for a hint of pelt, weaves it into lures.

 

Deer Tongue Fallen Apples

Deer tongue fallen apples, haunches taking shape in the dawn,
the only sound: soft mouths nudging open ripe skin.

She rests her hand on your navel where your first hunger was nourished
and touches that scar where you were cut and released.

Her eyes are so quiet, like acorns beneath an oak leaf.
You cast a line with the flick of your wrist over a wind rose in the river

— a rock reflecting light from all cardinal points—
to catch her hair once, her fingers twice, with deer fur and iridescence.

A blue line on a map marks a river from city to coast—
an azimuth on parchment that winds indigo

across deerskin scraped clean, soaked in lime,
stretched dry and marked with catadromous migrations

of rivers through inked-in mountains,
valleys, towns to the painted sea.

You touch the past on the vellum
in a constellation of vanished cities.

 

She Speaks on Your Last Morning

She speaks on your last morning
as though stealing someone else’s time,

saying how you both love trains—
windows framing backyards of clotheslines,

gardens, tool sheds, alfalfa fields,
a mill shooting steam into the summer air.

Neither of you knows as the windows change scenes
that the train is speeding faster,

the cars behind you unbuckling at each town
until yours is the only car moving,

and you are the only ones left,
watching trees in the backyards change color,

fields become fallow—the grist mill shut down—
and the sky turn white with winter constellations.

 

So Many Flowers

So many flowers and rain on the willows
as names of the dead call her back to the river.

Between brambles and furze you look for her,
blind to your tongue moving over her name.

You call her back to brambles and furze,
to the strands of deer hair you tie into flies,

to last year’s bud scales
now filled with blossoms and leaves.

Behind her lies the wake of your nights
when you saw wind roses that were her eyes.

She hears the quiet sorrow in your cupped hands
filled with water from the river—

you drink and you drink and you drink.
It is not strange there, a mirrored world.

You have seen it before when your face reflects in an eddy
and you wonder who is behind those eyes, that mouth—

if you could just see through the water looking back,
you would see her remembering the taste of snow.

 

What She Has Given You

What she has given you is a way to pilot the distance
between memory and a river of roads.

You follow highways behind hills, factories, farmlands,
tired of wandering abandoned tracks, tired of wanting across time.

No trains pass your house now—
no whistle leads you out the window to the next town.

You unlatch a box of deer hair, pheasant hackles.
Hunched over the table lit by a green lamp

you secure the hook in the pedestal vice,
set the thread in the middle of the shank,

wrap it toward you then away, stopping at the bend in the hook.
You pinch pheasant tail fibers on the thread, tie them into place,

a tail and abdomen for the mayfly, peacock herl for the thorax.
Moths tap inside the lampshade, spiraling the wrong way home.

 

Clouds Turn from White to Gray to Black

Clouds turn from white to gray to black
and while you sleep it pours, fish leaping for the false flies.

You dream you catch them all and lay them side by side—a silver shroud.
You think you have caught her when you hear laughter

but it is just voices next door from a party that has moved in from the storm.
You walk through the wreck of a train station, stepping over broken glass,

cracked bricks, graffiti, newspapers crumpled on the stairs.
Cygnus appears in the stars over the rusted tracks.

You can take her back in the darkness, she is not a dream—
her body against yours, her hair, cheek, lashes brushing your arm.

Don’t open your eyes she whispers and you both drown in a braided river
but as you drown you rock each other as if you are riding a train

through a place no one else has entered.
You listen to the note only you have heard on the sinews of her voice,

a vibration of music so exquisite you must open your eyes—
your fingers hold moth wings burning in starlight.

 

Danielle Beazer Dubrasky is the poetry editor of Contemporary Rural Social Work and an associate professor at Southern Utah University. She has won a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Utah Arts Council poetry prize. These poems are excerpts from a manuscript that won the 2014 Anabiosis Press Chapbook competition. Danielle is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia but has lived in southern Utah for over 20 years.