Little Blue

An American Triptych:      
Roads Without End

                              for Jackie and her owls

rom the
brush of a clear cut,

two bright
eyes leap out at you
and disappear into the night
like images of
some treeless future
flaring up out of the tangled
of destructions past.

In such

the rattling
of the empty truck
seems almost hushed, somehow muted,

headlights cutting a
straight line path
down logging roads that know no end.
An echo in the
forest at night, like no other


The air of the empty spaces
between the trunks of
giant trees
in stillness
like the deep darkness
between distant stars. But this is
no echo.

A woman calls out
and calls out
again, three sounds each followed
by a slide into silence.

And a
bird replies.

This has happened before, but each
time she stands breathless,
this most primal of dialogues,
two beings no longer alone
in the world.

The flashlight's beam, the
of which it has no need, the head
slowly turning to
the left.
But the
eyes -- so dark, so utterly motionless.

The woman suddenly senses
how strange this is...
She has come to help but is not
at home here, her movements somehow
out of tune
with the presence that looks
down on her
from the snag above.

She so wants to help,
to carry this bird in her arms
to some safe place, far
away from the smell of diesel
and the ripping, greedy sounds of


But the
bird says no,

as if it somehow understood
and sensed what was to come.
The woman checks her watch and marks
a map, turns
and walks steeply down

into a thousand
years of patient growth,
and into
the persistent, echoing howl
of a

bird and
the sadness of its






(Flat Bottom Valley,
Mount Adams Wilderness,
Washington, USA,
summer of 1989)