The Immense Vocabulary

Being Still by Margaret Hasse

She’s a quiet clapper in the bell of the prairie,
a girl who likes to be alone.
Today, she’s hiked four miles down
ravines’ low cool blueness.
Bending under a barbed wire, she’s in grass fields.
She’s at the edge of the great plains.
Wise to openness, she finds it a familiar place.
Her clothes swell like wheat bread.

When she returns to her parents house,
the foxtails and burrs have come home, too.
The plants seem intent on living in new ground.
She’s the carrier.  “Carrier” is a precision
learned in summer’s biology class.
She likes to think of ripening seeds,
a cargo inside the bellies of flying birds.
Birds like the red-winged blackbirds who skim the air
and land, alert on their cattail stalks.
They allow her a silent manner.
They go about their red-winged business
of crying to each other, dipping their beaks
into the swampy stand of ditch water,
full of the phantom of green.
The stiller she is, the more everything moves
in the immense vocabulary of being.


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