When a friend asks if I’m always happy

feathered sky

It is not that I haven’t known sadness,

blundered in the clutch of its graying shawl,

scraped my every certainty

on its ragged, hollowing night.

I, too, have been invited,

marked for this territory — a wilderness

that calls us to be pioneers

no matter how many times

its mapless gong has wailed

through our blood.

Grief is a sharp turn

that never rights, a rutted

groove in the muscle that makes

and remakes us, pushes us

forward into what we cannot

see, name … a saltless memory,

a startled love, joy sharpening

its teeth, craving the wide,

feathered sky.