Kate Barnes

Inside the Stone

Up in the woods,
in the circle among the beech trees,
last winter one of the lumber horses split a stone
horizontally, with a clip of his big steel shoe.
It had seemed to be a plain gray stone,
but when it was opened a black wall appeared,

rusty at the edges, flecked with pale checks
like unknown constellations, and over all
floated wisps of blue-gray, trailing feathers of clouds.

I brush away the fallen leaves
and stare into the distance inside the stone.
In one could become a bird
if one could fly into that night
if one could see the circling of those stars

and then the woods become very still,
and beech leaves blur at the edge of my vision.
I find I am bending lower and lower.


Another Full Moon

The house, lit by moonlight
on the snow, glows inside
like a huge jewel, a moonstone
or opal.

The whole house
shimmers with its freight
of living souls, and the souls
of disembodied memory.

I lie inside my warm bed in the cold
brightness, dreaming of those
who can no longer dream
of anyone, who have become
motes of dust
in the air, those universal

You would imagine,
looking into the next room,
that a lamp was lit,
but I know it is only
the light of the moon
westering, nearly full,
over the snow.

I am not wanting
or asking anything
impossible; it’s just
that I can’t help
thinking about it.