Before the Spirit of ‘The Long Man’ 

I sit on the western bank

of the river my ancestors crossed

both Irish and Cherokee.

The wind blows cool

in the shade;

a cup half-full of water.
I have been a month in the desert

sleeping in red clay

beside twisted trunk 

barely leaves

canyon crack,

deep and impossible,

low sagebrush 

one and one and one. 

Each a chapter of hope.
But today this body 

made of dust needs The Great River 

soft and rolling, moist wind making 


everything green and growing.

Grass, weed, wild thing

sprout without care

laughing at the morning sun;
they do not know

what it is to be 

the only tree.

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