You have forty-nine days between death and rebirth if you're a Buddhist. Even the smallest soul could swim the English Channel in that time or climb, like a ten-month-old child, every step of the Washington Monument to travel across, up, down, over or through --you won't know till you get there which to do. He laid on me for a few seconds said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell about his skirmish with a grizzly bear in Glacier Park. He laid on me not doing anything. I could feel his heart beating against my heart. Never mind lie and lay, the whole world confuses them. For Roscoe Black you might say all forty-nine days flew by. I was raised on the Old Testament. In it God talks to Moses, Noah, Samuel, and they answer. People confer with angels. Certain animals converse with humans. It's a simple world, full of crossovers. Heaven's an airy Somewhere, and God has a nasty temper when provoked, but if there's a Hell, little is made of it. No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire, and no choosing what to come back as. When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down on atheist and zealot. In the pitch-dark each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.
Maxine Kumin - 1925-2014
How pleasant the yellow butter melting on white kernels, the meniscus of red wine that coats the insides of our goblets where we sit with sturdy friends as old as we are after shucking the garden's last Silver Queen and setting husks and stalks aside for the horses the last two of our lives, still noble to look upon: our first foal, now a bossy mare of 28 which calibrates to 84 in people years and my chestnut gelding, not exactly a youngster at 22. Every year, the end of summer lazy and golden, invites grief and regret: suddenly it's 1980, winter buffets us, winds strike like cruelty out of Dickens. Somehow we have seven horses for six stalls. One of them, a big-nosed roan gelding, calm as a president's portrait lives in the rectangle that leads to the stalls. We call it the motel lobby. Wise old campaigner, he dunks his hay in the water bucket to soften it, then visits the others who hang their heads over their dutch doors. Sometimes he sprawls out flat to nap in his commodious quarters. That spring, in the bustle of grooming and riding and shoeing, I remember I let him go to a neighbor I thought was a friend, and the following fall she sold him down the river. I meant to but never did go looking for him, to buy him back and now my old guilt is flooding this twilit table my guilt is ghosting the candles that pale us to skeletons the ones we must all become in an as yet unspecified order. Oh Jack, tethered in what rough stall alone did you remember that one good winter?