Montezuma, NM*

 

In the foothills on an outcrop

where the Sangre de Cristos erupt,

the lips of stiff pines sing

as night wind scrapes confetti

from frayed jet-trail spray.

 

The last cry of a lost jay

sends the townsfolk for cover

except a stray fox loping

along the ledges before

darkness swallows his way.

 

The brush of his prints

hardly disturbs the needle debris.

As sun sinks, aspen groves glow.

Shadows spilling east open veins

of a silhouette the daylight hid

 

when kestrels worked the brow.

In the mist, cedar laces

up the ponderosa's sleeves

like prayer. In still darkening,

footfalls stretch beneath earth

 

beyond the bounds of time.

Great sky folds descend,

caress the spine and shoulders

as it was before man's mark,

secret of a lonely God.

 

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*Accepted Mankato Poetry Review (January 2001).