The Dying Arapaho ~ Bill Britton

I lie upon still-dry grass
and watch planets gain transcendence
over skies deserted by the falling sun.
Pinpoints of more distant suns flicker on,
as the sky draws a black blanket
across its shoulders from east to west.
The canopy spins above me,
and I reach to touch its pivot at Polaris
and feel it twist upon my fingertips.
Waving drapes of northern light
appear above the line of trees
and close the show on polar constellations.
From the outer dark, a whippoorwill 
sends its soft request to tryst
among the hemlock boughs.
Dew moves along my limbs
and settles at my collar, forming beads 
of glass beetles at its edge.
I stand, shaking cold from my clothes,
and turn toward the distant glow
of the embering campfire.
I hear the call of my ancestors
whisper through the night mist
as I reach toward their down-clasping hands.

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