Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

This Kind of Night

Friday, January 19th, 2018

I live among people who revel in quiet.
Let night be fully night.
I exit the dim house with Leo on leash.
House lights homely earth stars—for a moment,
It seems, the sky has swallowed the neighbors.
Leo pulls me into darkness with his nose.
Roads wait black and silent minutes at a time.
The giant empty sound of it gets inside.
Let’s sit on the winter porch and listen
After midnight to see if quiet minutes
Churn to hours. My bet: they would.

Leo gets nervous while a pack
Of valley coyotes howl. Their yipping
Has such tonal range and clownishness
You’d think their laughter human, so
I listen close for people chiming in,
As I would like to do, join the coyote din,
But then a second mountain pack
Starts up its echo ruckus in duet.
Local dogs cough a husky bark or two
Of distant memory, genetic mourning
For a mother tongue now lost to them.
Leo squeals a whimpered beg to walk,
Not stop to listen to the night.

And so on pavement up and down we stroll,
And shuffle to a neighbor’s dark drive
When headlights beam their distant crawl
Toward us, throwing light through stands
Of piñon pine like flashlights cutting up
A colonnade and our six legs. Like prey,
Long shadows scramble for cover.
Once the car has passed, its path a distant hiss
Of asphalt kissing wheels, I hold my breath,
Look up at Taurus, almost disappear.

It is no wonder now—that cosmic gleam
In longtime locals’ eyes. This kind of night,
If given time, will have its way with everyone,
Make us not quite right for well-lit city life. In debt,
I shred my heart to pass through a tight net,
To swim in schools for coins and loans.
Turncoat, jealous, I’ve had fun shrugging off
The starry mystic gaze, a bit too wild and bright
To live for bills alone. And then it dawns, this place
Will change my eyes, my face. By then I doubt
I’ll even care when people look surprised.


Walking the Green Belt

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Piñon desert paths remember
All our feet until the wind.

Post office bound, his dog ahead sniffing the way,
I swear I see my son’s size ten Converse tread

Of yesterday, homeward bound from school,
Slightly off the choppy sea of dog paws

And mule deer hooves, the scattered
Patterns of factory made soles in sand.

Imagining his solitary walk, I grin: his cheeks
Rosy with winter, blue eyes scanning

For prickly pear, then, the sudden upward glance
At sky, his left foot stepping just there.