He arced the slender oak branch down;
pinned it under a rock,
two centuries later, at this bifurcation,
a peculiar elbow emerges from the trunk.
Roots are a ribcage that wrap around
the edge of the footpath,
or a bony hand reaching over the lip
of the escarpment, marking it.
Below, a cave opening, where fire starters
have tapped flint
to fry cattail and hickory bannock.
Then rest on smooth doeskin hides,
under mulberry ink drawings,
rock carvings, and names.
Four generations of your family sleep
against these walls in the layer of soapstone,
in this secret ossuary of memory. That too
is all about to die, my son.
Here, Finley, take this awl and scratch your name
below mine. Look, your aunt’s name is there too;
who was taken when I was a boy.
I came here to cry and dream her back to life,
remembering that beautiful dark loneliness
that I was too young to understand.
You will be the last, before the earthmovers,
before the shape shifters come here to dig;
Caterpillars and track loaders that will collapse
our secret cave; cannibalize this beauty for a box mall.
A café will overlook this waterfall. White noise,
where a chain-store will have the temerity
to sell dreamcatchers.