Today, I sense so many small men
crouching just off the trail: carved from
Mayan knives; Etruscan-faced, empty-eyed.
When I turn to look, they become slabs of stone.
They are the prophets of apocalypse (an apocalypse
that’s already arrived – without the sirens),
their stone teeth silently grinding against stone.
I follow ancient tracks of water through sand.
Hallucinations, creatures of the Great Absence,
they rattle bleached twigs, raise spirals of dust, form
a circle of black needles around a dead piñon…
A pair of wings beat through juniper, unseen.
Cars pass on the road, far below. I can hear
the scattered road-gravel being crushed, one by one,
between rubber and macadam.
Two yuccas huddle together in a field of stone.
Christien Gholson is the author of two books of poetry: On the Side of the Crow (Hanging Loose Press) and All the Beautiful Dead (The Bitter Oleander Press; winner of the Bitter Oleander Poetry Award and finalist for the NM book award); along with a novel, A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian Books). A long eco-poem, Tidal Flats, can be found as Issue 63 of Mudlark. He was once a black feather in a blue dumpster; he is now the last leaf clinging to a pear tree. He lives in New Mexico, among the living and the dead. He can be found at: http://christiengholson.blogspot.com/
Artwork: Noel Kerns, Evergreen