Mud and wet outside, short glass with ice,
Straight Kentucky Bourbon afternoon
between rains forecast for the next two weeks—
cattle fed and work done around a nap
and half-a-dozen postponed phone calls,
greening ridgetops cut sharply out of a gray sky,
I play self-indulgently on paper. Naked,
white slope of Redwood Mountain peeking
downcanyon at the pool of Blue Oaks, all
but undressed when the ground drinks
and promises prosperity: add water to
instant grass, lush color almost every year—
yet no two the same. The old sycamores burn
fat flames in the cold along the creek, loose
fire at their feet, glow in the woodstove.

It may be unnecessary to cut the dead up, stack
and pack the ashes out just to stay warm, waste
hours that could be spent consuming, charging
more for energy other than our own.

The sun finds a hole, sets pink on the snow
like an iridescent beacon at tunnel’s end
upcanyon—summer grass for Cutler cattle—
not bad today, even though the world has
gone to hell and won’t last long at this rate,
playing policeman for the planet. Everyone
has a big gun nowadays. It doesn’t pay
to have wealth, fame or power when the game
is ‘bout over, if there is no future left.

We manage somehow, patch the hull, survive
the egos and evolve quickly—seldom a good sign
unless you are a ravenous pest or mutating disease.
We mustn’t forget what has forged and tempered us,
drawn our genetics to this spot in time and space—
assuming reason, purpose and the all the rest of it.
We try once more with another miracle of rain.

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