First Arrival, Sandhill Cranes

Summer Lake, Oregon


I had not waited for them
                        or anyone, yet they have come
past all belief, legs trailing
                        into the atmosphere,
at the end of music, these mountains
                        diffuse and purple,
two shadows over gray water
                        with what the night portends.
This is the heat of true pairing,
                        legs diagonal yet loose,
every airbeat the slow-winged
                        silhouette of one body
over dark water descending,
                        then down and calling,
half garble, half croak,
                        the walking ghosts of evening
across shores of empty snails.

Steven Dieffenbacher

About Steven Dieffenbacher

Steve Dieffenbacher has lived in Oregon’s Rogue Valley since 1989. His full-length book of poems, The Sky Is a Bird of Sorrow, was published by Wordcraft of Oregon in 2012. Ranging from Oregon to the Southwest to Latin America, the poems, written over a span of 20 years, are a journey of connections made, lost and rediscovered during a lifetime, with each place lived in or visited becoming a focus for them. His work is also is included in the 2012 anthology, What the River Brings: Oregon River Poems, by Fae Press, and his poem, “Emptiness,” won the 2010 poetry prize sponsored by Cloudbank magazine of Corvallis, Oregon. His poems are in Deer Drink the Moon (2007), an anthology of Oregon poetry published by Ooligan Press at Portland State University; in the chapbooks Universe of the Unsaid (2009) and At the Boundary (2001); in the anthology Intricate Homeland: Collected Writings from the Klamath Siskiyou (2000); and in A Path Through Stone, a 1995 cycle of poems that includes work by Bruce Barton, Jonah Bornstein and John Reid. He also has been published in numerous regional journals. He is an editor at the Mail Tribune in Medford, where he writes a monthly column focusing on nature and hiking for the newspaper's Sunday travel section. He has won various awards for writing, photography, and page design in his more than 35 years as a journalist.
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