Barbara Swift Brauer

This is no solitary walk: they startle into view,

enter by a jay screech, step out

from the hunch of a boulderís shadow.

Of course the dead return these last fine days

when we stride most at ease in the borrowed world.

Today the autumn sky opens with an acornís crack,

and I set out for the ridge, leaning

into the slope, the steady ache of muscle.

Here my fatherís stern patience in a hawkís pivot,

my friendís voice threaded among the wind-shaped branches.

They have come to warm themselves in the late-day sun

and remind us of our promises. Ready to be taken again,

the dead nestle in the nub of a rib,

breathe with our breath, curl in our sleep

against winterís lengthening nights.

Barbara Swift Brauer is a freelance writer and editor living in San Geronimo, California. Her work has been published in many periodicals, including Nimrod, West Marin Review, The MacGuffin, Spillway, Pedestal Magazine, Zone 3, and Banabe Mountain Review, as well as several anthologies, including The Place That Inhabits Us (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010). She is co-author of the book, Witness: The Artist's Vision in The Face of AIDS, (Pomegranate Artbooks, 1996) with portrait artist Jackie Kirk. Barbara's full-length poetry collection, At Ease in the Borrowed World, is forthcoming from Sixteen Rivers Press.

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