On the map are neatly etched lines drawn by a fine stylus in a skilled hand separating blue from yellow. This soil is cinnamon there tending to mahogany no line, only a post here, one there and a gun emplacement to deter those who cannot see a line writ on water. In the wind the dust dances across and back dodging the post or caressing it it tastes the rain which falls both here and there. High above the buzzard watches the lizard scurry through the shadow of the sign seeing neither blue nor yellow. Halt, you cry are you of this land or that? I am of neither I am the ocher of the land from which I rose into which I will recede I am the mote of dust that lodges in the corner of your eye and in the corner of his until neither can see the line that is not.
First Publshed in Peacock Journal Anthology, 2017 V. 1 No 2
As I stare out the window and watch the snow slowly build on the limbs of the now barren sugar maple, painting it with a whiteness that bears heavily giving the smaller branches a better view of the ground in which their fruit of the summer lies buried.
I am forced to wonder if the maple continues to watch me, if its vision is clouded by the snowy blanket in which it wraps itself this day, and if it does, what must it think of someone so sedentary when it, bearing its winter burden can still dance gently in the morning wind.
At night, in these mountains you see a million stars, but all you hear is the silence. It bothers you, this silence and you strain to hear, what? There is no one here but you and your breath is swallowed by the night sky. Be still for the wind will rise, and these mountains and these trees herd us into ever smaller spaces as we have been herded for generations, we will gather as we ride among the peaks and down into canyons, listen carefully, for inside the wind we dance around your ears, our songs faint. As the full moon rises slowly over the mountain listen carefully you will look for us but we cannot be seen. You will hear our song dancing across this mesa, one voice to another. You will imagine us coyote, you will feel a chill along your spine and we will fall silent. The stars will smile for they know our stories but to you we are simply, the songs of coyotes. Listen to our voices we will tell you of the land of the grasses once here where our herds grazed, now gone to endless sage. As we lick at your face taste the tears which have watered this now arid soil. Look at the flowers pushing out of the sand and rock, see our faces in the stones about your feet. You may return to your homes and pull your comforters around your chins, hiding from the night’s chill, but we shall remain among these peaks, in these canyons for another ten thousand moons.
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019
Along the shore, this morning, the clouds piled up, refusing entry to the promised sun, which hung back forlorn. The waves charged onto the sand like so many two year olds in full tantrum, banging against all in sight and retreating, only to charge again, pushing away any and all in their path. The wind pummels the sand, and as we walk along the street the wind borne sand tears against our skin urging us to take shelter, reminding us that nature does not bend to the weatherman, and will from time to time play havoc with their forecasts because nature speaks, she never listens.
We are obligated to carry memories, and as we get older the burden grows ever heavier, we bend under its weight, knowing we dare not lose even one for once castoff, the weight is carried off like the smallest feather on a storming wind. Soon enough it is we who will become the burden that others must carry and we hope they will willingly shoulder the load lest we become the excised dust of forgotten stone grown over with weeds.