While We Sleep

By Edwina Pendarvis


Salamanders, startled into being,

flicker far away.  Through the banked fires

of autumn moss and leaf-litter,

they arc across the synapses

of yellow birch and red spruce

on mountain peaks lifted from an empty sea.


Triumphant myriads—scarlet, brass-flecked, jet-black

and muddy (autochthonous as Adam),

sluggish or coursing through the roiling streams,

their slimy skins, their tiny hands

twinkle into and out of starlight,

auguring, not a millennium,

but a kind of joy.




Edwina Pendarvis is Professor Emerita at Marshall University, where she taught for thirty years.