by Sam Taylor
From my life as a Christian peasant
I cross my forehead and chest solemnly after kneeling.
From my life as a Sioux, “All my relations.”
From my life as a Jew, I curse God in the daylight,
then steal back at night to kneel in the moon.
From my life as dust, I call all things father
and no place home. From my life as water,
I can rest only in the lowliest places.
From my life as a traveling salesman,
I can’t stop talking or dreaming of maps.
From my life as a stone, I have yet to speak.
From my life as a Russian streetsweeper
I eye women carrying bags of groceries
with suspicion. From my life as a clergyman,
all the tears of a body, more than the sea.
From my last life as rain, this endless longing
for the roots of the earth and a woman’s shadow.
And, again, from my life as dust, this muted yes,
this meaningless assent to all things.
Sam Taylor’s first book of poems, Body of the World (Ausable Press, 2005), was a finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. He currently caretakes a wilderness refuge in the San Juan Mountains and will soon be the Dobie Paisano Fellow in Residence at J. Frank Dobie’s former ranch in the Hill Country of Texas. (8/2006)