Behind our back, ground squirrels
crawling on their bellies raid
the peach tree, an Elberta with huge
fruit starting to color that bob
and bounce across the pasture,
bigger than the heads that run
with them gripped in yellow teeth.
Come evening, a flutter of black
feathers, our resident pair of crows
dining at the fence line on scattered
cadavers, fuzzy lumps awaiting
buzzards for breakfast.
Everyone trying to make a living,
nothing goes to waste,
not even peaches.
– for Mas Masumoto
Thin veil of snow on the Kaweahs—
granite shows on peaks undressing.
The creek slows and disappears
as the thirsty earth drinks miles
from the river, puddled behind a dam
that will not fill the Valley’s furrows.
Tan medallions, last spring’s leaves
quiver from brittle fingers of oak trees
sprinkling green hills, giving centuries
of rainfall back as decomposing homes
for smaller survivors. It is not over
despite a forecast chance of rain—
dry seasons last, leave evidence only
years of floods can erase. Almost March,
the buzzards have returned early
circling an easy harmony of generations
gone—each clear voice rising,
we hear assurance and good advice.
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2015, Ranch Journal
Tagged birds, Blue Oak, buzzards, Drought, Dry Creek, Great Western Divide, Kaweah, Kaweah River, photographs, poetry, rain, water, weather, wildlife, Yokuts