A Collection of Wings

Where the ice sleeps, there is blood
a collection of crushed steel wings amongst the knotted trees, trunks
wrinkled and comforting and then, the sharpened
rock daggered to the sky, gutting the horizon, each mountain
a blade to collapse upon.

There under the snow the butterflies,
83 species beating each heart:
the mourning cloak; the green comma;
the white admiral who salutes the stay of winter with an imperceptible nod;
the cold is not what kills them.
It is the wet, uncertain heat of summer
so that some will sleep longer, postponing the inevitable
death for another year, sleeping
through one wind after the next while above

Glaciers in retreat, cancelling pursuit, taking the quiet ones,
taking the passive routes while each white cloud is winged, culpable
to the birds, their migratory wires spun invisible, hanging
every wind from a tack and only this that can speak

to the birds, the butterflies, the winged man, each animal
humbled and pulled by the graciousness of rock, the skies of land rolling
through the roots of trees like a rushing river freed from the sea
left to pool in small caverns, left reminding
any ice in the hand is water in the palm.


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