working with willow rods that’s the method,
bring great bundles of them,
put on the ground scatter them
pronounce them, saying:

“here’s one”
“here’s another one”
“here’s one, there…over there…”

willow rods, very consoling          we’ll clear the ground
you don’t have to be a Scythian…

and then the ones behaving more like women use a different method

they take a piece of the inner bark of a lime tree
cut it into many pieces
which they keep twisting and untwisting around their fingers as they
make effigies of themselves, willow rods of women saying:

“there’s a turn”
“there’s a turning”
“there’s a rowdy one”
“there’s a moist one”

“there’s one we lost to negligent wind”
“another one burned up”
“one folded down a sparrow’s cheek”
“how many turnings in a twisty one?”

a million, more than you can ever hold
makes the pronouncers happy
surveyors of tractor and sage
and when all goes out

remember eclipse telling you this could all go out
women too?

but for love & mystery
willows rods, willows rods
you know this
to fool the hearts of men

staying up all night, notice the moon and its macabre signal

and hemp vapor tents on the horizon

walk upside down in the footprints of the living

From Trickster Feminism (Penguin Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Anne Waldman. Used with the permission of the author.