How It Is Done


The secret lies in

brushing hair,

a hundred and one strokes,

down the cascade, long as a mare’s tail.

It is carried in the singing

learned from children,

that floats like so many sparrows

through the open window of the throat—

curtains bend

on the wind.

It is in the slow stirring of the pot,

the spoon hand-made, carved

of a wood like birch.

Pull it clock-wise along the pot’s edge

beginning in the east.

In these acts

the world is dreamed into being.

It falls to the straw, slipping

from its mother like a newborn calf,

wet, and soon bawling,

unfurling impossibly long limbs,

attempting to stand, then standing.

The secret lies in the crescent pattern

of the mother cow’s licking,

not the rasp of her tongue,

but the sweet scent of grass on her breath.

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