COYOTE TREE

Most tracks fade beneath the little feet
of quail, or the pads of the wild, or last
night’s wind and we are gone, no longer
reading the latest news off the road alone.

Under thorny gooseberries overgrown,
a pestle rests in a granite grinding hole,
waiting for a sure hand and a woman’s
song to stir the rock back to life again.

The Coyote tree, two arms outstretched
at the top of the perfect grade the CCCs
carved with mules and a Fresno scraper,
dynamite, wheelbarrows and many picks

and shovels, has seen few humans since
the dam has held its beginning underwater—
the old Blue Oak has lost its bark with
no limbs left to hang a wild dog on.

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