In many traditions, the grouse is a symbol of the spiral dance to the heart of mystery. Here she is also an offering to my own limping, arthritic joints.
Grouse spins inward, dances
the one-wing limp-dance –
the hunched, knee-favoring,
Round and round she dances
dragging a wing, a thumb joint,
and the dragged part, flightless,
makes a spiral in the dust –
a whorl, a shell-shape, an ear.
What you must follow
is not the bright chest exposed
to arrows but the dragged
wing, the lurch, the dark thing
hidden, which you thought dead.
There is the pivot, the way in,
the still place where she falls
down and down, until
she touches where flying cannot go.