—Lake County, Oregon
All day, wind beats the edges of dying lakes,
old shorelines heaped with sage.
Locals tell us these distances go on forever,
an unnamed breadth we’ll wish to cross
when the miles begin their hunger,
calling from barnyards and fields,
arid and atmospheric over the grasses.
Time scours the playas into dry contours
while hunters who tracked camels drift
as phantoms through cattle moving to higher ground.
In caves, their alkali-caked bones molder,
and we decay with them, imagining years of plenty,
while ravens in nests hoard broken eggs,
a warning against any awakening.
Steve Dieffenbacher’s full-length book of poems, The Sky is a Bird of Sorrow (2012), won the ForeWord Reviews 2013 Bronze Award for poetry. He lives in Medford, Oregon.