Rushing to the Morning

Dawn comes to the valley,
houses lit with early risers,
garbage trucks roaring to a stop.
Headlights carve the remaining dark,
white edged clouds outline the sky.
Black winged birds fly east
while out beyond the mountains
sun breaks the horizon,
warming the high desert
and a ripple of peaks on the great divide.
Wolf, coyote and a wave of creatures
stir and find their legs, begin the hunt.
Sturgeon circle beneath the dams,
salmon wait past the break
for a flush of cold water on the tide.
Press your ear to the ground,
you’ll hear the earth thrumming
with the bass of deep stone
and something like joy
flowing through her veins
as she rushes to the morning.



photograph by Sandra M. Jensen


Bird Song

Birds return to the valley
crossing the sky, filling the trees.
The winter storm has passed
and though the rain continues
something has changed.
The slowly swelling branches
of the plum trees stretch out,
drinking in the cool air
as the earth awakens
to bird song.



painting by Eilish Hynes


Living in the City

Hard cobblestone streets and sidewalks
with blood in the cracks.
Old buildings with the cries of mothers
and children, the laughter of immigrants.
It was the only world we knew and though rivers
ran below the palisades the earth had forgotten us
and we were left to fight it out beneath the streetlights.
Somewhere above the glare we believed there were stars,
that a moon still graced the sky, but we were looking down
and around the corner braced for the next raft of trouble.
Sometimes there would be songs on the corner
and girls in high heel shoes, their legs showing
beneath a red skirt, click click clicking for our attention.
We were desperate for love but usually settled for a brawl.
I remember all their names, their faces, wish I had been
a better friend, loved that girl a little stronger,
held her tighter until that pulse between our legs
could find the joy that only came at midnight.
Out of time’s cloud I hold them dear,
with all the faults of exiles in a stolen land,
wanting to go home, wanting to be loved,
wanting to live the life we still could dream.





Only This Life

I’ve shaped wood
into the soft curve
of tapered molding
and myself
into a rough hewn beam
to support the weight
of generations.
Resting on the columns
of all who went before
I hold up the roof
for those coming.
Look into the well of life,
the mirror of your heart.
There is only this life.
Why serve the infidel?



photograph by Willard Walch