Deer Mountain

Just south of the Canadian border
caddis dimple water lined by thick alder
last night, a storm
tonight, the milky way.
Filaments of bearded moss hang still on spruce limbs
a fire dries my ankles.

What feeds on the sweetness of trees?
Candy smoke and a sky of sap
pixelated by stars, dries white with streaks
down bark a caramel glint scars.

Some see rocks only after trees are cut or bulldozers scrape
or only hear them as thunder strewn on the edge of night.

Some see them by how they move water,
giving a river and its banks
and its thicket and canopy a rhythm.

There is life under what we cannot see.
Cases of caddis pupa fix to the undersides of rock undulate
off the hard surface into something that floats, then flutters.

Michael Garrigan writes and teaches along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. He enjoys exploring the river’s many tributaries with a fly rod and hiking the riverlands. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. His essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Wayfarer, The Drake Magazine, Hawk & Handsaw, Sky Island Journal, and Barren Magazine. He is the author of the chapbook What I Know [How to Do] (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and Robbing the Pillars (Homebound Publications, 2020).