How can the vastness of stars be absorbed into earth?
Borne upwards, torn sideways, woven into valleys?
So sings the nighthawk, to whom the air holds no vastness,
only the fragrance of Sitka alder,
of subalpine fir,
and soil drained by steady, cliffside winds.
He surges down, where lupine, yarrow, and bulrush breathe through gravel,
and nighthawk feels the mountain’s stare–
how it is not injured, not blemished,
despite its neck in snowless shards below.
And dusk seeps over each barren hill, and–like rocks from the river–the soft mountain ridges.
And the one thing the nighthawk knows, as he trembles through blue and purple air,
is that whatever is in the stars is in the mountain also.