the feather of a flicker turning in my hand,
the orange needle of its shaft,
a buff softness along one edge
rolled between my fingers.
I watched myself
tuck the feather between the pages
of a book you bought for me
though it wasn’t a book I’d planned to read.
I put it in my suitcase.
The turkey vultures tottered in the air,
and circled in hot silence,
and the watching eye hung somewhere
Myself at the cliff’s edge,
whine of a harp string,
and you below,
flat in the sun—
a cat, a basking animal.
You lay with wood below your back
and waves below the wood.
Ten years on, I sold the book
and forgot the feather inside,
but at dusk there is a green light on the water
and a fat moon rising from the center of the island
and I still smell the summer, still hear the waves.