John Macker: “Epilogue”






A pair of Cooper’s hawks
dive and explode the air
cleave the sky into uncharted territories
a frenzied cincture
a momentary communion that

admits the ground to the heavens
this first fresh autumn day has dissent
written all over it ⸺
wildflowers retreat defeated colors
fade into the middle of the earth again.

Looking up, grace is just myth rewired
silence broken into a million feathers
the practical hours and tamed
rivers lay beyond us just over
the Jemez mountains, I’m sure.

As swiftly and immodestly as they arrive
they vanish, their rhythms survive them
standing here in endangered open space
lone unknown interlocutor
their aromatic wind still in my face.

The words we say to each other now
are spirits in freefall, they search my
mind for place a holding pattern
how can the human heart remain sedentary?
Abandoned fabric of the sky they once

nuanced unravels      they won’t share the secrets
of being in the mystery      lizard bivouacked near
my boot, blinks away the sun’s engorged sparks
harvest moon rises like oblivious burning desire
an insatiable eye     a mute witness.



About the Author: John Macker grew up in Colorado and has lived in northern New Mexico for 25 years. He has published 13 full-length books and chapbooks of poetry, 2 audio recordings, an anthology of fiction and essays, and several broadsides over 30 years. His most recent are Atlas of Wolves, The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away, Selected Poems 1983-2018, (a 2019 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards finalist), Desert Threnody, essays and short fiction (winner of the 2021 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards fiction anthology prize), El Rialto, a short prose memoir and Chaco Sojourn, short stories, (both illustrated by Leon Loughridge and published in limited edition by Dry Creek Art Press.) In 2019, his poem “Happiness” won a Fischer Poetry Prize finalist citation, sponsored by the Telluride Institute.


More by John Macker:

Last Riff for Chet


Nostalgia Poem


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sandia Peak, New Mexico” (2021)

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