The Live Oak bundles roots
in cracks of rock where water leaks
from scoops of granite—high

Sierra lakes filled by snowmelt
thirty crooked miles or more,
and six thousand feet of gravity, away

to stay alive. A mass of tendrils
chasing a tiny stream into pipe
before the trough to drink deeply,

to swell into a rope of roots
to plug and claim the most
precious here to life until it

disappears. Everyone knows
this place beneath a string
of sycamores and cottonwoods

growing sideways for the light
in the canyon’s deep and narrow cut—
where water spills into troughs,

pools overflowing one into another
where resident thistles and weeds
compete, crawl with black ants

to feed the birds and rodents
who in turn inflate snakes
that enjoy the cool and damp.

Enough to share with cows,
I come to clean the pipes
that make the spring box work.


2 responses to “LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING

  1. Beautiful, John…You’re a wordsmith, a weaver of language, a painter whose medium of choice is metaphor on the canvas of rich description. I become so, so homesick when I read your work…here in Hawaii, the most geographically isolated place on the planet, where 98% of its people would love to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, it’s always nice to feel I may have connected with someone, or taken them with me on my mundane circles. My credo has been to make life rich as I can and leave less room for stress; but easier on paper than by hand.


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