For the Poet of Pablo Creek

Long legs loping through alder woods,
beard a black bush, pack on your
back, twinkle in your eye

like the twinkle of a creek in the sun.

In your cabin by lamplight,
you trace a trail or mountain
range on the maps you cherish

more than any original painting,

You're an old wall-gazer,
mountain-rider, know-the-names-
of-all-the-flowers kid.

The only time I even faintly
tasted the wrath you reserve
for the Forest-Service-Timber
Company Consortium, Trident
and Northern Tier
was brushing trail up the Queets
for two dollars a day,
when the chainsaw gas was leaking

on your new, expensive sleeping bag;

and maybe the time Balaam, our donkey,
ate the last of our cedar shelter
during a rainstorm on the Calawah River,
back when we were still calling

winter wren the jazz bird.

You know the alchemy of song
and the heart required.

Here...I've set you out
a cup of fresh rice tea
and the only map of the 36
waterfalls of Canyon Creek.

Mike O'Connor | Wei City Song
Contents | Mudlark No. 7