Burning edges of a dark-gray raft at dawn,
the cool and damp inhaled, a padre’s bed
of filaree stretches into the speckled granite

crowned by ringlets of monkey flowers
spilling bright-yellow hair, vines of wild
cucumber cling and dress a leafless live oak

limb, fallen uphill. Their automatic answer,
unseen turkeys gobble at my cough, maybe
nesting. Milky sky, the sun takes its time

to break over the ridge, each day forging
northerly towards the mid-summer saddle
beneath Sulphur Peak and the beginning,

the spring at the head of Live Oak Canyon
and the Avery—notorious country to gather
multi-colored crossbred steers, thirty years ago.

It looks serene and who would know or care
to hear about those days, so many cowboys
gone to hell, or other places in between,

that we don’t seem to need now. But I miss
their humor before the planet turned so
serious, their toughness before I got so soft.

                                                  for Loren, Steve & Rod

2 responses to “APRIL SOFT

  1. Rebecca Fredricks

    Thank you . Dad was heavy on my mind today, Rebecca Fredricks


  2. Clarence & I were just talking about your Dad yesterday, having a beer in the shade of the 400 year-old Valley Oak near the corrals, where the eagles roost along Dry Creek. I’m sure young Zach Shaver tires of listening to two old men reminiscing about the old days, but thankfully our world is small and uncrowded, and the few people who pass through it, important.


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