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.


Hear it:




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