The evening rays have lit up
swollen, mid-summer clouds
–our sky peaks–
in translucent pink.
A fleeting consolation for those
whose inspiration comes from mountains,
here in the swampy suburbs
where the short horizon is shrouded in shrubbery.
Pitched granitic massifs soaring up from open plains
are a wishful vision veiled
by humble ramblers, and overwrought colonials
whose edged beds and shrubs fit neatly
between lawn grass and concrete curbs.
These legs that I force to trot
up and over suburban rises,
mark a small steady beat,
turn out the words trapped in taut nerves,
and draw out my dreams
free of this pinched place, clear of closed corners,
to make mountains in the sky from
the silver linings of a gathering storm.
The brooding sky stretches,
from humorless neighborhoods
under this cumulus crown,
to a far-away range
rising out of a crevasse
of longing and memory
of another dusk’s last rays.
Shadows encroach Hell’s Canyon divide
and creep up the Seven Sisters’ pink-tinged,
–massive, even miles away–
as sunset’s fringe inches imperceptibly,
until the mountains fold into the sky,
together in night’s purple drapes.
More prosaic this place, where,
feet, slapped down one after one,
through suburban habitat
shake my words loose
from their cerebral lattice,
at a steady pace,
until my labored breath has
slowly sweat out all syntax,
blurred membrane and memory.
Ears and nose are startled by darting rabbits,
eyes and skin are tickled by swooping tits,
and my throat bleats back to a chipping cardinal.
Deafening cicadas insistently rise in my heart,
And the blood pulse keeps time, faintly,
with the cadence of crickets.
Like quavering notes in a staff,
a chorus of birds skim and hang
on the untidily-strung, black wires above,
criss-crossing street and sky
in straight ionized lines.
Poles punctuating the song lines
are stapled by the neighbors,
and drilled by bugs and peckers.
From their perch the birds caw and chortle,
fuss and bustle.
My sentences are stilled by dogged steps.
In the blanks between,
I hear them calling
very clearly now,
I must hurry.
This avian homage to dusk’s light show
–ablaze with coral cinders blown south
from burning boreal forests in Canada–
scolds out that sky mountains will burst
their fiery light
into sheets of silver black rain
Souring our already soggy soil.