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
Where I Live
is vertical: garden, pond, uphill pasture, run-in shed. Through pines, Pumpkin Ridge. Two switchbacks down church spire, spit of town. Where I climb I inspect the peas, cadets erect in lime-capped rows, hear hammer blows as pileateds peck the rot of shagbark hickories enlarging last year's pterodactyl nests. Granite erratics humped like bears dot the outermost pasture where in tall grass clots of ovoid scat butternut-size, milky brown announce our halfgrown moose padded past into the forest to nibble beech tree sprouts. Wake-robin trillium in dapple-shade. Violets, landlocked seas I swim in. I used to pick bouquets for her, framed them with leaves. Schmutzige she said, holding me close to scrub my streaky face. Almost from here I touch my mother's death.