POETRY

LATE MAY ON THE COLORADO GRASSLANDS

Pale as all the pawnee grasslands,

blue shades cling drily to their roots:

wilderness fades, snapped in our hands;

dust and prairie ants laying hold

of this spring, bare and clean

as unbreathed air. But now — the press

of a storm is coming in:

the startled ripple of a bird

just out of reach, a gathering

of the breezes. The earth raises

up a dry ground, blurring

where the sky meets.

We lean into the sex of rain,

the little bouquet waiting

by the low winter-carved bed of the plain,

while long grass found deep in the dark

mud of a mountain's thaw

shifts slightly, opening the raw

desert to the clouds.