Standards by Wendy Howe

You learn about this strange place
from birth -- journeying there
through the middle earth of yourself.

Not the topography
of muscle and sinew, tissue and tributaries
of veins or nerves. That reef of growing bones

No, this is about the green hill
with sea winds surrounding its henge.
A girdle of standing stones
_____( too large to wear
except for the mother goddess)

and how it holds in
what is sacred, durable
_____despite tremors or storms.

How light enters on a slant
blessing each slab with a perspectiveÍ
and how the girl wears its shadow
having been inside, having felt
the weight of her wilder will
______lighten, lift as mist

toward the ocean. The tide rampant
with scavenger birds pecking
at what floats in the shallows,

what slimes in the lustre
of a shell.

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