—for a sixty-seven-pound nugget of Lake Superior copper 
        found in an Iowa cornfield
Before the earliest flute
was carved from a vulture’s wing,
before we—what few we were—
bowed to the moon,
the balmy, secular night,
you were coming.
Snug in the great throat of a glacier.
Still as a wish, until its sighing end.
I like to think you waited years
for us, one shoulder greening in the damp,
the other burnished by long leaves
of wheat, before we called it wheat.
Or was it loess, the wind’s fine veil,
polished you so bright we would know you at first sight?
What have you seen in the ice and the earth?
Is hell cold, or hot?
Do you pray, too? And to what god? 
Or whale, or bigger rock?

Related Poems

I rose from marsh mud

I rose from marsh mud,
algae, equisetum, willows,
sweet green, noisy
birds and frogs

to see her wed in the rich
rich silence of the church,
the little white slave-girl
in her diamond fronds.

In aisle and arch
the satin secret collects.
United for life to serve
silver. Possessed.