Antistrophe of desolation to the strophe multitude.
                                    – Robinson Jeffers (“Still the Mind Smiles”)

Either by design or to assuage the monotony of heaven,
the gods decide the course of storms to start the play,
set a season’s stage in motion with the belly-crawl
of bugs and snakes, those players closest to the earth.

Most of the birds wait in the wings—a finch flits
in the roof beams, a lone Killdeer surveys the sand
along a receding creek, movement without dialogue
or song, a slow and solitary dance unfolds

to envelop us, the audience, and we are helpless.
On the other side of the mountain, the river will not
run long enough to feed the ridiculous, the excesses
of the madding throng. Two opposing worlds exist

and the gods sit balanced on the ridges between
extremes. But it is the nature of cows to graze
the flats rather than the steep. Only a few
will forsake the bunch until the grass grows short.

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