Programmed now to check email before daylight,
I had forgotten how young we used to look
as I open a Kris and Rita birthday wish duet
on Facebook – from a friend I’ve never met,
having just survived my one more night.

Wet spring, forty-two years to the day, I walked
with camera along the creek beside thick trunks
of sycamores and the trapped, high-water pools
reflecting naked limbs, clouds and Canada,
making swaps in my mind.

Those trees, born before Sir Francis Drake
found Nova Albion are gone, clear cut for gravel,
like all the lives since Viet Nam for wars
that couldn’t defeat, contain or destroy ideas.

At 63, I am programmed to write, find binary solace
in lettered synapses chasing chips through cyberspace
for open minds – my quixotic quest into
the friction of science I won’t survive.

Joe Bruce calling from Colorado remembers,
oxygen bottles by his side as he re-rides ‘Old Blue’
on the phone – his new, 17-hand palomino gelding
going back to ‘Man o’ War’ 14 times. He can still
walk out, turn around and get his cows in by himself.

Kris and Rita, you can tell we were all in love
with something within – one another then – long looks,
making music, riding voices high into the wind.

                                                        for Richard Blaustein

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