striae

grasses mingle with cactus
smoked light striates a flat peak
horizons shift at every step, small losses
thin mantle of damp desert cracks
exposes dust an inch beneath my boots
enough wet for a bit more August green
thunder walks me up hill a new way
to happen upon a peeling almost stupa,
stop, cautiously bow to sacred neglect,
someone’s vague religion, follow
my tracks back to the fork where I left
the usual trail to meet the ponderosa
who daily receives my pause to inhale
the sweet bark, a backwards prayer
of wordless promise, protection
for the three who broke off of me

2020

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