MY DAUGHTER’S PAINTBRUSH

Evolution flows from the palm 
of the universe like the sweeping strokes 
of my daughter’s wet paintbrush, 
washing space with a rinse of stars, 
spilling elements mixed in blood. 

The spattering colors splash my soul, 
wake me up to life’s dawn chorus 
wrung from throats of wrens and frogs 
to echo in caves, on canyon walls. 

The river writhes in its ancient skin 
shedding beads from the serpent goddess. 
Silvery minnows tickle like stars 
as I search in the mud of a fossil bed 
for words churned up by my soul in flood. 

Underwater, I swim upstream, 
sleek as a grebe with my clothes off, 
seeking the mouth of the river goddess, 
source of cuckoos and cutthroat trout, 

who sang into birth the light of suns, 
the green growth shading infinite banks 
of a birth-death cycle rich with loam 
where the feet of my being can plant. 

As my soul skinny-dips in pools 
left by the hoof prints of mammoths, 
circles of Pueblo Indians dance 
on kiva walls of buried towns. 

Shadows of wolves slip through pines 
at the edge of Aldo’s wilderness. 
Stamped in snow, the grizzly’s tracks 
melt into the tread of a universe. 
 

My tears spill into God’s cupped hands 
that smell of river, earth and rain. 
I open her door to see all the people 

and waterfalls of tears and blood 
tumble and leap over cliffs of flesh, 
flooding into a plain of stars 
whose expanse is God and nothingness.

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