13 | caroline goodwin

make way

for the call-and-response
for the night song, the heron song
for the old woven basket
full of the black oak acorn

dancing on the shore

for the redwood and blue blossom
for the blue whale washed up with the tide
for the stillborn, the unborn
for the blue dawn, coyote, fox

make way

for the family at the graveside
for the white rose and maidenhair
fern placed on the stone and the notes
in the child’s mouth, rising

pulling the daytime awake

for the father’s sharp grief
for the mother’s long grief
for the fields and the voices of the fields
for the water collecting in the reservoir

make way

for the histories of all the languages
for the girl opening the book, her eyes
chips of starlight, for the tall reeds
for the cattail shoots and wild seeds

hissing alongside the lake

for the dreams of a city, a council
for the house on the corner, windows
lined with empty bottles, colored glass
and the light finding them in the evening

make way

for the gardens and the village
for the tiny yellow blossoms, the acacia
for the breath of traffic and the aircraft
for the festival, for the million bits of paper

lifting off into the fog

for the shelter, for the lean-to,
for the ghosts inhabiting the harbor
for the shell mounds, the mammoth tooth,
the skeletons, the lines, the old road
the memory, our memory

for the north
for the south
for the water, wild
rose, honeysuckle, scrub oak,
waterside, landslide, branches of cloud

for the pottery shard
for the hands in the clay
for your hands

make way


nine herbs charm

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caroline goodwin is currently serving as the first Poet Laureate of San Mateo County. Born and raised in Alaska, she moved to California in 1999 to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry. Her first book, Trapline, was published in May 2013 by JackLeg Press in Chicago. She teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts and in the Stanford Writer’s Studio.