From the Creek Bed
homage to Davis McCombs
Cold enough for snow, but no clouds hung
overhead. The sun caught his eye as he climbed
from the creek: sweat on his back, jacket
unnecessary. He thought about the drought
summer, how leaves turned shades of decay.
Senators ditched crisp suits for flannel shirts,
jeans, pristine work boots. They held shovels
and promised to find money for each man’s
failed crop, but the checks never came. Today,
mud sticking to his shoes, the man knew farmers
already talking about how wet March would be.
homage to John Haines
Brown moss, dried out along the walls
of the rain-fed creek bed that has not supped
for weeks, could pass for remnant fur—
gristly, matted with clumps of dirt
from where he rolled hoping
to calm or sate the burn,
the ache of drying out flesh. His skull
is only what remains, bleached white
by summer’s sun, no signs left of decay,
no trace of ribcage, leg, or tail.
The tracks of whatever stole his body
have long vanished into dust.
From where I stand, the empty rocking
back and forth of naked limbs and crowns
with curled dead leaves, echoes, rattling.
I do not know if it is just breeze
blowing through forest cemeteries,
or if that sound is the burn, the ache.