Out of the Wilderness

for Shirley Stevens

Joe Bruchac who taught me about Kokopelli
the hunchbacked god with a flute
tells me signs are there, they're everywhere

And that a fox came and put his head
on Joe's knee when he was sitting
on a rock in his Abenaki wilderness

Joe said "that was my dead friend speaking"
Now I'm calling Joe and asking him about that fox,
I want him to teach me how to make one

come through the desert or wilderness
and talk to me—but Joe says "no—the signs are there,
the signs are everywhere—birds, stones,

everywhere, you just have to watch for them"
He tells me there are certain times of the year
when the tribe can't tell stories—I think about that too

while I wonder about the old phone message
on my machine—a voice saying—"I'm just trying to find you"
and I am trying to remember who that was and when

There is no trace, no echo, no sound, no message again—
I tell Joe about the voice—how grateful I was to hear it once
And I begin to learn about the shape of the wilderness

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