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Victoria Cutover
[Ontonagon, August 9, 2013]

Roads ahead are marked by schools of flying fish
Silvering bullets skipping, jumping, raising micro-dustdevils,
Relentlessly ahead, like self-powered ground balls.
I came to these hills not to fish, but to explore
My mind vaults as much as what envelops me,
Thinking how fishers are life-takers much despised
By Buddhists and Vegan warriors despite claims
Hooks neither damage, nor kill, and after lives immersed
In H2O some time in the peace of sunlight
Can do no harm, and if one should happen to die
In the proximity of a cast iron skillet
Bo pen nhang, Laotians quip, “It doesn’t matter.”
 I look to conjurations of les couriers du bois,
And Esquimaux, check my compass, rendered useless
Among peckish iron deposits, I prefer to make my way by landmark,
Eat poorly of comfort food from petrol stations with hollyhocks
To mark the presence of “facilities” where strangers can make mudless music,
Communicate in greenbackery, lingua franca everywhere,
Including places we gave arbitrary names and bombed away
Laying napalm carpets along ridgetops ,watching them ploompf beneath us
Stealing life-breath with democratic impunity,
I bought each day on blue star sapphire and mailed it home
Uninsured, ninety talismans in sequence, with me as ninety first,
AOTBE among we pariah dogs in aluminum tubes.
Then to now, same razorbacks thick with green and slash and hidden life
I see no skipping fish and step outside the Streamer
To find myself engulfed in blue-green-gray butterflies
Alighting to cover my face, kissing me with powdered wings
Whispering wing-talk, “you are welcome here in the dark hills
Where our only clan is life and we all belong,
No matter our pasts or transgressions. All new nests here are white.
In time we learn of bank swallows primitives call wind-eating birds.
In time, we mimic, fly anew, and learn, reborn.

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