The Garden of Forking Buffalo

in a place named for rivers and wildlife
a sturdy facade belies a buckling form
how long has it been since voices and laughter
filled the interior of this now fragile frame

in another life, down a different path
pursuant to other choices
perhaps this place is still alive
vibrant and supportive of community
languishing in the attention of careful hands
never caring to imagine how else it might have been
except, perhaps, in dreams…

of this time and these circumstances
a FOR SALE sign by the side of the highway
and a gas station a few miles to the east
the only commerce anywhere nearby

in the imagination of place, or of structures
what other ways lie parallel to our own?
places and structures have time for dreaming
long nights left alone, in the dark, by the roadside
even with company at the height of the day
somehow aloof, hidden in plain sight
what goes on behind those glassy eyes?

what other pathways extend through choices
in this world left unchosen but traveled in another?
what if, as an electron in a cloud of superposition
the dreaming of place is somehow a portal,
an aperture or avenue to possibility
an act of measurement sufficient
for collapsing the waveform
of this cloud of endless options
into a particular path in the present
where the forking of this ancient river
is still frequented by those ancient herds
whose image and memory are all that remain
of the thriving economy of nature in this place
and humans have found a way to honor not only
one another’s cultures and those who came before
but the ancestors still with us, the plants and animals
and the mountains and the waterways and even
the elements themselves which undergird all

and so, perhaps, if place itself can dream
what of those of us now so distracted
by thought and feeling and should?
might we not also touch that stillness
from which emanates all that is and can be?
what path might appear or reappear in our dreams
whose taking opens vistas unavailable to rational thought?