Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Invasion

The lake vanished.
The earth did not apologize,
But the horses follow us along the foothills;
The 20-carrot jewels left to our broken spirits
Are more priceless than the golden grass to them.
The cows don’t buy it; they stare as we walk by,
And dozens run when we get within 20 yards.
They know who we are: the only white people in the bar
And can’t pull fast enough away.
The grass they eat attacks our feet
As we follow an elk over waving hills
Of yellow, green and red, feathered with lupine,
Familiar datura and strange iron thistle blooming.
The rockface monoliths pocked with lichen
Seem to speak like shamans, or maybe they’re resting;
A day traipsing will not give up the secrets of Tehachapi Pass.
Squirrel, sheep, donkey, deer stare warily, no succor
For trespassers—our flag, our house, our land
Is no good here. Even the condor, wearing shaman’s fur,
Lifts off to spiral in the thermals.
Later, when the moon shines like pearls along the Grapevine,
The elk go swimming in the pond, trumpeting freedom songs.

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