Spending the Night
Rachael Z. Ikins
I grind gravel on adrenaline’s wave. One burst
catapults me 120 miles, as if I held my breath, 120 miles.
I exhale my face into scrub-grass up my nostrils
green my fingers earth under the nails
grit between my teeth taste Mother Gaia, yes
, and prostrate
on her chest ear to her heartbeat:
cardinals’ scarlet cheer-cheer, redwings’ booker-T!
warm wrens’ chortle, downy-brown, reminiscent of your eyes.
, I cry out! for her, for you…answers float.
Four creaking herons’ sinuous necks
scribe a story of night’s slow fall
across the sky above my head.
Sisterhoods of crows shout hurry! over velvet shoulders.
Lone cicada’s voice climbs the clouds.
bounce through milkweeds’ dense curl.
Skipper wings’ copper petals brush at
lingering crumbs of day.
Yellow and black striped
swallow-tails fold like hands in prayer
Robins chat. Woodpeckers code.
Coyote laughter. Foxes’ dance.
Forest secrets deciphered.
My wilderness. I decide
my way home.