Mudlark No. 63 (2017)

	      Cold, cold, so much rain it enters the bones. Tremor in the hand 
			           that turns the boiler knob. From one easy twist,
     coal fire instantly pulled from an open pit. Mine-truck, 
						           on a haul-road somewhere, 
		      tire-tread lanes 
            making the last connections left between body and brain. The trick: 
	            cut deep to make Things, 
					            a language of Things,  
		  		          to fill the hole caused by that first cut.
		I crawl back into bed, close my eyes, and I’m back in the desert:
a raven’s eye studied us from cliff-side juniper shade...a second raven 
		                                   landed on a nearby outcrop, 
							                               edge of the long drop,    
	      five croaks between them.  	
						    	    Out there,
			        red level after red level: vermilion pinnacle corner-cuts,   
        where carnelian rectangles  
				            eye-stepped a steep slope down crumble-rock 
						           to ochre clay. Vast...
				      No such thing as America here, I said.   

I was born — right then, right there — on that cliff,  
                                          a fence lizard’s snout emerging from the shade of a sandstone hole,
							                        shadow against shadow.

         Grey-red dust-sluices meandered through black-brush, 
					 	                                 a mile, two miles, down 
 		 And the ravens cried as they fell, black wings spread,     
	    a black language echoing off the walls of the canyon below

					                                      Long scar 
					       			                        of an old mining road 

Christien Gholson  | Tidal Flats 7
Contents | Mudlark No. 63 (2017)