Posts Tagged ‘Juniper’

For a few moments this morning in the wind’s lift, before the female coyote teased

the black tongued dog away from the whelps’ hunger song, the Sangres

shed their skin of smoke.


Coursing fringe of juniper and piñon beyond the road-less and trail-less mesa’s mars

violet cliffs, the dog’s shadow melts through trees, searching for lizard, jack or squirrel.


By the cinders’ lack of tracks I know her invisible quarry will remain so.


Though the air holds no voice of hound on the track the faint wind is not without sound.


The hymn of cicadae choirs off juniper branches suffering a red-eyed plague of stylets.


When I approach the noise, a lace-winged constellation deserts stripped bark for cholla’s

green-antlered succulence, pink

blossoms and yellowing fruit.


Here, through this scaled shimmer of light and whir, I see them, four anonymous

graves , hieroglyph of blank wooden crosses

against the overgrazed plain, scabbed together with

cut nails,  the kind a farrier clinches tight against the wall of a horse’s hoof after its rind

is carved, the iron shoe fitted,

shaped so that the nails will miss the quick of the fifth heart.


Each grave a pile of large stones too heavy for a solitary soul to lift.


Each heap the length of a man.


Each cross set to the west edge at the head of its mound.


The axis of each hump perfectly aligned in the geometry of death, lain, so

that, when finally lifted from under earth and cairn,

the spirit may face the rising rapture sun to greet the last new day. 


Erupting through the throat of the western most, a haggard eleven foot

juniper calendars their age.


For four quarters of the compass rose the mesa extends miles with no ruin, stable,

stock-tank or proof of human

life except my shadow cooling drought washed stone.


In this morning’s heat the corpses

lie quiet,

unwilling to reveal what final thirst lured them here, or who corniced

the purple stones above their mouths.


The dog and I are each alone.


Beyond hollowed horizon and arch of sky there is no sign of water above ground.


Only occasional croak of raven against blue thrum of cicadae withering green

to grey under wind.


To the east everything is smoke and burning.