Out of the Green


By James Grabill

Green plants punch out of the unnamed soil
at ragged edges of sky-burned mountain-top
coal peppering the recent incomplete history
of a few thousand incompatible religious sects,

each referring to their muskellunge doctrines
swimming in cold pools along the lake bottom
of gamma-ray magnitudes, in the up-birded
and heavy present place where we were born.

It’s the aftermath of 1960s antiwar protests
beneath the sky’s glistering million billions
widening catalytic pressures on slow-motion
fall of the sun along the curve of cheekbones.

What pushes undergoes plunges and breeches,
grails, granges, sprawls, eucalyptus and soils
at the root of deciding system cells, absorbing
brightness mollified by innocence as by the rain.

The presence of trees holds species in the future
limits of shape, as what we’ve known approaches
an event horizon beyond which nothing escapes,
nothing alive, no name nailed up along the road.

Only after this morning’s swallowed countless
galaxies and suns out of unending night sky,
20th century cannonball lanterns still burning,
a green dragonfly slips out of a break in the air.
James Grabill’s recent work appears in Terrain: A Journal of the Built or Natural Environments, Caliban Online, Stand, Harvard Review, The Bitter Oleander, The Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review, & others. His books are, Poem Rising Out of the Earth and An Indigo Scent after the Rain  (Lynx House Press). His Environmental Prose Poems are Sea-Level Nerve: Book One & Book Two (Wordcraft of Oregon). For many years, he taught writing and global issues relative to sustainability.