We’ve come too far to turn back now.
The blue camas shimmering like a pluvial lake.
We dig with a stick their roots
Put them into baskets and take them to the river
to be pummeled with river stone and baked
into hand cakes in hot rock ovens.
If everyone knew what we knew
it might spark the engine of creation.
Rewards for learning life skills
are a delicacy in fast food alley.
That flash of lightning unwitnessed among stars
reason enough to worship here
instead of there.
Auntie Em danced white sheets into a ball
as cumulus climbed dark and threatening
over a small farm in Kansas.
We battened down the hatches
locked windows and secured doors
and the witch rode the wind
on a windmill bike.
Where did the storm leave you?
It left me on the dry side of the Cascades
in the Great Round that was once a lake
like Summer Lake with sandhill cranes
wading into the shallows and mountain bluebirds
flittering in the willows.
Our mother never gets enough credit
for seeing us through the hard times. It takes
conscious effort to look back sometimes
to where we started in her arms
near the beat of her heart.
The land cannot stand up to these claims.
I fall backwards into an interior sea
slow dancing with moonlight on a cold plain
shagged with juniper.
“Not heaven on earth,” my mother says,
“heaven is earth.”
David Memmott has been living and writing in the Pacific Northwest most of his life. His work explores views of the American West both rural and progressive. The collection Lost Transmissions includes the long poem, “Where the Yellow Brick Road Turns West,” a finalist for the Spur Award. Recent publications include poems in Weber: The Contemporary West, Gargoyle and basalt. His digital art can be viewed in the Midnight Garden at davidmemmott.com