Presence 76

cloud free day
I’m beaten
to the final bench

David Jacobs

yellow flag
the dry season ends
in gentle rain

— Tony Williams

moonward our steady climb beyond the tree line

Leven Fox

once we fished crawdads
brother with brother
but the decades trickled away—
tell me why creeks run dry
and brothers never speak

— Curt Pawlisch

because I know
he’s trying
to place me
I say strange things
to make it harder

— Annie Bachini

Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness

After lunch we walk the dog down the trailhead. Over the third rise the prairie opens up into an otherworldly landscape. A vast necropolis of hoodoos, comprised of layers of sandstone, shale, mudstone, and coal that were deposited 75 million years ago. Many say they resemble mushrooms or large, prehistoric trees. But, I believe, they are the abandoned game pieces of Navajo deities. These stone pinnacles—mere pebbles to the gods—used in a game of Tsidil by Tsohanoai, the sun god and Niltsi, the wind god. The sticks used in play now remnants of petrified wood strewn across the canyon floor.

                                             badlands
                                             a devil dancing
                                             in the dust

— Terri L. French