Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

History of the West

by Emily Strauss

Suddenly silence descends like
a curtain dropping, freeways
disappear, voices fall into empty
space, eyes no longer see, ears
stop hearing, blood pumping
within your head is the only

sound, your arms are numb, feet
refuse to step, hot sun bakes
as you lie under waves of thick
air, the leaves motionless, dirt
cracked into sixes, the grains
ready to dis-integrate.

Time prevails, bones turn
white, brittle, crushed
by the quick step of a coyote
half a century later
freeways now gone, the river
channel deeper, boulders
tumbled, new cliff rock
gashed open and pale

grave stones fallen, it's hard
to see any letters, maybe a 9
shapes barely cut into granite
bleached after a hundred
summers, the shapeless body
unknown, only the wind
touches that sacred ground
only the wind singing chants
for the dead, with time ebbing.

Cars become rusted mounds
bright orange poppies shine
on brown iron and steel, prints
of mice show new life but quietly
still no birds disturb the scene.

Now the pavement cracks widen
into small chasms gaping dry
under the cloudless blue bowl
silence fills the view
like water pouring in.

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