13th Rainbow Family Gathering of the Tribes
July 1-7, 1984, Modoc Forest, California
The seventh night.Our circle is full.
These buses parked among the trees,
the tipis above on a sagebrush plateau,
sleeping tents for miles along the ridge:
this campfire halfway down the road
where crouching longhairs
offer us coffee and ask
for a cigarette.My friend has one left, one:
it circulates, a spark among the stars.
Tell me, I asked him, hours ago,
do you feel part of something here?
(Earlier he'd traded his shirt
for some trinket of mine in the trading circle,
we tossed a frisbee where the council sat—)
He thought a minute: shook his head.
"Not really. Not yet."
It was some time later that he noticed
a second moon.He pointed it out to me: "There.
You see? Just past the windshield of the bus."
The rest of this last long night
we've wandered lost between two moons,
picking a dark path from campfire to campfire,
crouching silent by the coals awhile—
We crouch by this fire halfway
down the road
a long time sometime after midnight.
And wander on.Tell me, I ask him, hours later,
when you passed around your only cigarette
there by the fire, did you feel something then?
Something huge and asleep, sprawled
for miles around you,
something you belong to no matter where
the morning carries you?
He doesn't answer
for half an hour or so.
Yes, he says.And the circle is full.