When you come upon a snowbank in the desert

When you come upon a snowbank in the desert,

its crystals blinking on the red soil
of gully you’ve followed in hopes of finding
an arrowhead or chipping, stop. Taste
it’s coolness, on your hands, on your tongue,
lie back and make an angel
in it’s melting surface before it evaporates
and becomes the mud on your shoes.
Bury your face in it, even though it is sharp
on your skin like a knick of paper edge.
Let it melt on your eyelashes
so that the siskins there in the juniper
become a painting by Monet and it runs
down your red cheeks as though you are crying
but you are laughing. Let it up
over the tops of your sneakers,
let it soak into your socks until they
are so wet you take them off and hang them
out the car window on the way home as trophies
of where you’ve been, what you’ve done. Because
when you come upon a snowbank in the desert
you let it quench your thirst.


Orchestral Evening 

We were as one riding the tall grass losing
               its pollen in visible air along newly strung
barbed-wire that sang as the turkey vulture
               opened his wings to the polka of hoofbeats
the whirl of chucker feathers billowing on blue
              sheet music and the breast of a gyrfalcon
a dust field being speckled by rain hunting
               where the earth smell teases the whiskers
of grasshopper mice while cowbirds lay eggs
              in nests of red-winged blackbirds in woodwind
rushes river water through ditches shovel
             dug by someone’s great grandfather singing
harp songs across old bedsprings a muskrat
             summoned by distant ringing of roadside
harebells hiding honeybees whose solo
              ends when conductor pulls curtain strings
calls home coming home



Broken promises fall forgotten
             and bare plum branches
             shake the last pieces down
              I rake them away into

Mist behind burnt orange mountain ash
              flame of flicker wings
              a spot of red fire
              always caught in the corner of an eye

Sun like galardia
              claims the sky in passion
              akin to blooming colors of fall
              and red plum leaves papering my walk

Burst horse chestnuts
              green spikes browning, decaying    
              leaving smooth gingerbread nuts
              like stones in the driveway

Collecting them, little boy, little girl
              have found treasures of deep sea pirates
              their pride more sincere then any plunderer
              I am hijacked by their smiles


Mourning Dove Nest

Three eggs, soft ochre and pearl,
mottled like tea leaves in a porcelain cup
once used by your great-great grandmother
and then by you when teddy bears came to tea. 

In perfect symmetry of a water drop
they lie unquivering on twigs
reminding you of kerplunk only these are not unbreakable
marbles, but shells fragile as dried rose petals
in your mother’s jewelry box. 

But they are understated at best
hidden against a sagebrush stump
where your horse almost placed her hoof
before you pulled her short
and mother dove flew crashing along the ground
like a rubberband airplane when it runs
out of twist. She is begging to be chased. She hopes
to lure you from the nest, hoping
you will see her as easier prey and leave
all that is possible in three little eggs alone.