Between fenceposts to high desert trails
is a gate of brittle juniper sticks and sagging wire
to public paths on the henna-powder mesas,
the mesquite-meal lomas and the chaparral.
Beyond the cottonwoods just over west,
gunshot pops on the sportsmen’s range.
The dry land in between bristles at leaning fences,
at toes inside my huaraches.
Neighbors know it is tame enough
or they have faith enough, under wide skies.
Women like me, with freckled arms, walk out here,
willingly meet eyes with ocotillo blossoms
and dawn coyotes.
At the gate, I look back to crossroads
for approaching trucks,
for sunglass glints, glances from souped-up cars.
To be unseen. To be alone and unseen.
I can, its likely true, outrun you, imagined one.
But not your bullets, nor a blade from behind thick tamarisk.
No one sees me…
Below the first hill, a rash oasis,
a wash mosaicked with splintered glass,
the widespread tesserae of bottled beer.
At the second, a frame of rusted bed springs stands,
an upright grave marker for a sun-eaten engine
on a sere battleground littered with latex viscera.
The third, a downslope scatter of blue cans,
and red, that gave-in to hard heels of old children,
oh, how they gave in.
I hope no one sees me.
Here, fourth hill, is a vantage to green-gray grasses,
to ridges watched by natural spires.
This trail, now, chuffs softly under my treads,
sprays powder and pine duff up onto my legs,
out here, where pinyons drip incense sap in dry air.
Your air, old children who live in town,
who ride low, and high,
of whom I am afraid.
Loma: little hill