The sky will close inside a willow
like all the blue riddles, like all
the scientists a million winters after
all the leaves fall.
I have not danced much with the sky
or its lightning, or along the dirt road
where the river birds refuse their wings
and begin gaping up from their roosts
because the moonrise squeezes against
every feather and reveals the distance
they must migrate against their own shadows.
Same for my mother, a widow now,
chopping out bamboo roots, because
they have inched to the basement wall,
and so far they are only growing parallel
to the cinderblocks. It’s not a dream,
she says, not a home for a bear cub,
or the ghost beagle, or baby chickens
teasing after June-bugs. It’s the work
asleep in itself, beginning to end.