Dennis Nurkse
                                                                             Audio Provided by From the Fishouse

A Night At High Spur


Mara tempts the Buddha
to disappear wholly in love
but the compassionate one
shuts his mind: he will remain

an old man with gap teeth
perched on a three-legged stool
beside a ring of charred stones
on Lost Knife Ridge in the Shoshones.


The lovers in their sleeping bag
are constrained by the zipper
to huge slow lunges.

They call each other’s names
as softly as possible
though there is no one.


If we could die to the self
but not to the blue pines
we might be reborn
as the foretaste of rain.

Lord, if the bent grass we lie in
is illusion, don’t wake us.

Let the wild dogs moan
in their fogbound hollow
until dawn reveals its terraced cliff.