The air smells damp at first light
beyond the jagged silhouette of ridges
that frame my mind—no straight lines,
no ‘only’ connections between heaven
and earth as I glance up in disbelief
inhaling dark moisture around me.

First dew after a drought confounds
the senses armed for more hot and dry
and I want out—out of summer
and into pastures with the heifers
nursing their first calves. I follow
fresh coyote tracks in last night’s dust

to an isolated draw for yesterday’s newborn,
watching for motion among the boulders
and Blue Oaks that haven’t moved
in my lifetime, where the spring went dry
two weeks after we drilled our well
deep into the hardrock to artesian

a half-mile away. We had to trench
a pipeline back to the trough
from the pump—no straight lines
above or under this old ground
holding us together best it can—
and there I find them: fine.

We are tough enough to submit
to long days beneath a blazing sun,
wear mental armor, gnash our teeth
into lockjawed grins to get by, but
searching, ever-searching for new sign:
fresh proof that nothing stays the same.



WPC(2) — “Endurance”

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