LOOKING FOR SALT-ROCK MINE
A skid trail opens out to a gutted Kenmore range,
a corrugated roof gathering cedar deadfall,
and rusting cans, a pit somebody dug to some
purpose, prospective or domestic. Maybe a glory-hole
that didn't pay its seasons, or a summer squatting
of temporary kin. Just below the sound of tires
on gravel, I skirt a gully. A dirt track
hugs the brittle woods to hide a devastated
trailer, a scattered library of college texts (philosophy
and several -ologies) abandoned falls of snows
ago. Was it no more than calendar
or change of heart that caught
A game trail edges down a hogback
with a view of canyons, trees and trees and canyons.
What I can't see, the shafts and adits into under-
ground, the magnet of this place. I guess
an azimuth down through sugar pine and cedar
to end up on the dirt road where I started.
No Salt-Rock Mine.
But here's an old green stakeside pickup
with a load, no plates, two seedy men
with rolled up sleeves for their own
business of this place, who ask
me if I'm lost. If I were
wouldn't tell them.
The nagging of mosquitoes mostly,
a twitchering of juncos
in the pines. A fly.
Mosquitoes at my ear my mouth my eyes.
Woodpecker, a pecky cedar
deadens his drum. Some other
bird. A truck way down
the canyon soft and far.
A fat speckled spider that makes
no sound. The muffle of sky between
ridges, how the woods absorb
these noises. Mosquitoes and
another bird. Leaf-fall. Silent
beat of blood through my veins,
which sounds like a cougar far-
off, imagined or
closer, his hunger,
AT THE CONFLUENCE
The sandbar shows a cloven hoof print.
You strip and wade into the shallows
and let the water do its work
on sweat and trail dust. After-
wards, your white shirt drying
on a rock, you'll consider
the magic of forked antlers.
Tonight you'll sleep under
the horned half moon.