On This Uncertain Earth

On This Uncertain Earth

By Kory Wells

We walk expectantly among the geysers,
the land here like nothing we’ve known before. 
We might as well be on the moon or Mars, 
there’s so much we can’t name, 
vague cues we don’t recognize
until the moment they spew
like hot secrets. Look how the minerals rise
and shimmer. How the mud simmers
in pastel swaths. How twilight lasts and lasts.

Now, in our room at the open window,
we lie and watch, just watch, 
the cool thin air from which like magic
bats appear, scores of them,
to spin and spiral in the pine tops
because we all need to eat, and
isn’t a little dancing good for the soul?

In this wilderness we've come to understand
perilous, and more than that, precarious, 
and more than that, possible,
which is why we see now, 
through the fogged gloaming, 
beyond the bats and thick pines, 
massive buffalo grazing, and beyond them
a lone chipmunk skittering to its burrow.

Soon it will be dark enough to see
the Milky Way, and a million stars winking
down on this yellow, bubbling earth, 
down on our warm forms almost lost
among the soft spots biding their time, hungry
for something we’d rather not name.

Kory Wells lives near Nashville, Tennessee, where she advocates for the arts, democracy, afternoon naps, and other good causes. Author of Heaven Was The Moon (March Street Press) and a two-time finalist for the Rash Award for Poetry, she mentors poetry students in the low-residency program MTSU Write.  She and her husband visited Yellowstone in 2015. Read and listen to more of her work at korywells.com

Featured image courtesy Max Pixel / CC0