Lost and Found in the American West
Objects write the river, its surface a tablet
of leaf, branch, rock, carp, fingers that trail
through the green-brown, all those tiny mirrors
tarnished like saloons. Swallows angle off wind,
their huts blooming from cracked canyons,
and pink brooms of tamarisk tidy the buzz.
The first day, our skins turn to what might be
at the bottom of a puddle. The third day, ritual.
By then, our eyes can’t hold the river long
enough for beauty. It’s where we’ve been.
We blink by red rock, streaking varnish down
its face. Awe proves unsustainable, despite
the eddy’s backpedal, its remnant fin. Off
the river at dark, the Milky Way catches
in cottonwood. Night raises smoke. Objects lost
mean fireflies, that nostalgic flick, which is not
the light of stars.
Winner of the 2009 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Award, the complete collection is available now by clicking on Bear Star Press. $16. Free shipping!