It was after a storm,
        the clouds just lifting,
when I noticed the soft half-light
that held the hills,
        not a trace of wind,
but the afternoon sky
    rose like vanishing smoke.

Then I noticed a line of wet rock
        rooted into the earth,
at the edge of a shadow. 
            Off west,
clouds still hung onto the mountain,
    clung fast,
        and I couldn’t — burn
was what I said then — that vision
into language,
        with words that would
flame yet smoulder — green juniper fire.

And still I think,
        if this last wisp of smoke
drifts off, I might follow
    or just stay
here in the desert,
    a place I knew
        before I knew
my face — and later, at last
lodged in bedrock — meant wonder
    and understood.


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