Back 40: Lost Creek


For Dave Thorpe

You could stay for a weekend.
Head west to Hankins Gulch
and parallel the rocky spine
of ridgeline until the pass.
Turn north and walk
until you find water.

There’s one gray cabin, and it leans
in sun and weather.
Pitch your tent
opposite red humps of stone
that ache toward the sky.

At night, when no moon casts silver,
use a headlamp to find pools
of dirt and grass. Fan the gnats’
dive in the light,
and think of yourself
alone as one who walks toward Damascus.

Cut the lamp.
Let the gnats settle
on your eyelids. Look again.
Ten miles in, the sky shows no city lights
and the stars collect
into storied patterns, utterances
that crawl across the valley like storms.

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