Selected by Ira Sukrungruang
Despite our vantage point / from this sharp place, / there is such an expansive and gaping silence / to the left, / where the low, smooth valley / boasts the wide basin that leads to the lissome, metal-plated river / tracing its silvery course / across the rocks in pearls and tangled rivulets, / that you almost believed the momentary quietude / to be dreary.
There, / in the sudden dip after this ridge, / there are the lozenges of slender stones that begin to softly roll, / conjuring up the low clouds of dust / that thicken the air / as the slow, brown- backed, / hulking /beasts stumble formally / from the sloping talus of the cliff, / where, / languorous, they had gathered / during yesterday evening’s downburst—the one that blew about / loose slit / and angular particles of clay / with its grating and slicing gales.
Breaking through / the upward-swirling crown / of sand and dirt-hung air, / the low drums of wind begin to sound / as the field birds paper the sky / with their large, dark wings. Carrion- fattened, / the volts of stone-colored, sharp-shinned hawks, / and the gangs of bearded vultures / and all the other avivorous old world raptors / eye / the fleeting, star-bound objects / of their hunger.
Humming softly, / you hold the weighted brass bell / to your berry-stained, grass-striped chest / as the sun makes its creaking, hesitant descent; / humming softly, / you gingerly push aside the pink wild onions / and gauge the wind’s faint breath / to find your bearings; / humming softly, / you trip lightly / through the ironweed and tall prairie grasses / as the faithful hunting dogs / enter the field swiftly, / following your snaking, / scented trajectory / lake-ward, and then south.