Sunset Talisman

With her rattle
and her brilliant headdress
woodpecker holds the door
of the horizon open
for the coming and going
of certain shamans.

If we could get her to fly with us now

she might take us to where
sunset wraps up the day
with its red and purple scarves

boxing away everything
we have done
and not done

on this road where
we are pedaling
hello and goodbye
at the same time—

before the light of the stars
falls into the arms of the river—

and my words become water.

Madronna Holden is a folklorist and has published four dozen poems in twenty literary journals since her recent retirement from university teaching. In addition to her collaborations with painter David Wolfersberger, her poems have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, American Writing, Equinox Poetry and Prose, The Bitter Oleander, Clackamas Literary Review, and many others. Her first chapbook, Goddess of Glass Mountains, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she keeps bees, oversees an eccentric organic garden, and gets happily lost on nearby wilderness hikes.