by Lynda Hull

Image: Donald Peterson via
Image: Donald Peterson via

Consider autumn,
        its violent candling
                of hours: birches

& beach plums flare harsh,
        chrome-yellow, orange,
                the dog zigzags the hillside

tangled with flaming vines
        to the pond below & barks
                at the crows’ reflected flight,

a reverse swimming
        among water lilies, that
                most ancient of flowers

anchored by muscular stems
        in the silt of cries
                & roots, tenacious as the mind’s

common bloom, remembered men
        I have touched at night
                in the room

below the African painter’s
        empty loft, his few abandoned
                canvases, narratives

of drought & famine, of how
        his people, hands linked
                entered the deepest cave,

the unbearable heart
        of belief where each gesture
                encloses the next–clouds

packed densely as ferns, becoming
        coal, the final diamond
                of light, the god’s return

as rain, its soft insistence
        loosening the yellowed hands
                of leaves that settle

at my feet. How expendable
        & necessary this mist
                in my hair, these jewels

beading the dog’s wet coat.
        How small I am
                beneath this vast sway.

“Accretion” appeared in the Fall 1986 issue of Crazyhorse and in Hull’s collection Ghost Money.

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