Buried in the Sky, Details and Sample Pages
Buried in the Sky
La Alameda Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001.
Cover illustration by Kappy Wells
Book Design by J. B. Bryan
5½ x 8½", 64 pages, perfect bound, $12.
"The themes of time and the inevitable mystery of
death run through many of these poems, not in a morbid way, but looking
directly at our incandescent brevity here: the paradox of our
extinction coupled with knowing that we, and all that is, as far as we
know, are reconstituted atoms from the first stars—tendering a kind of
immortality." ~ Penny Harter
"It is a strange world, fraught with the fragile ordinariness of nature
and its impending deception that this writer captures and illuminates so
well." ~ Jeanie C. Williams, reviewing for Southwest Book Views
THE MARK OF BLOOD
The wet eye of the dead wren stares
at the morning sun. Ants have begun
to carry away the meat of the breast
along soft feathers, parted
at the mark of blood some cat
drew before the struggle ceased.
As it was clawed from sleep in its low nest
perhaps its dying eye contained the moon
or flickered like a star as it burned out.
Translate this wren death, this opening
black gaze. Find in it a memory of dirt
falling through your fingers, cool as dawn.
Feel the wind sift feathers on dark wings
that beat the evening air as if they were
the bellows for some heart that must not stop.
AT NINETY, MY FATHER
At ninety, my father studies the cosmos,
slowly turning pages in his birthday book
to contemplate the glowing photographs
of planets, of galaxies beyond the Milky Way.
He is looking into time.
With his good eye, he reads about
the rings of Saturn, the seas of Mars,
enters giant towers birthing stars.
Here and there, he leaves a fingerprint
among the spirals
in the radiant dark.
"[Harter] contemplates the qualities and dimensions of existence."
~ Jeanie C. Williams, reviewing for Southwest Book Views
". . . landscapes and details that are hauntingly elegant and deathly at the same time. This is by far [Harter's] strongest
and bravest collection . . . ." ~ Jeanie C. Williams, reviewing for Southwest Book Views
For Eleanor Ecob Morse,
my great-great-grandmother, 1890
She sits at her worktable,
lifts a blue glass cup
to admire its gilded rim
as she begins to paint
small violets on its sides.
By evening, she will have done
the whole set, blessing each blue sphere
where violets bloom.
She does not feel the weight
of snow that fills each cup she raises
to the window’s light, the cold
of blowing flakes against her hands,
or the sudden chill that finds her lips
when she pantomimes a sip.
This morning, the sky beyond her window
deepens to the blue of finished cups
as I hold each one up to catch the sun.
"At Ninety, My Father" and "Tea Ceremony" appeared in
American Nature Writing 2002;
"The Mark of Blood" first appeared in
American Nature Writing 2001.
My thanks to the editor, John Murray. Note:
The sample pages above do not accurately represent the actual page
design and typography of this limited edition.