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Sunday, May 24, 2020


by Katherine West

An abandoned corpse wrapped in plastic and covered with cardboard lies on a sidewalk in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 6. —CNN

There is wind but no water
After a truck drives by the dust
Takes a long time to settle
Bushes along the road are not green
Bushes along the path
In the evening
Are more than green
Burning bushes all of them
They are the prophets
The saints
The messiah

Orange butterflies
On yellow daisies
Are psalms

The hundred birds at dawn

And the dust?
And the drought?
The dying
Lined up outside hospitals
In Guayaquil?

The fires?
Burning before houses
Signal fires
So someone will come
Pick up the dead

Carry them away
To heaven
Seraphim and cherubim
And hymns
And again the birds
At dusk
The elegy of the thrush

And you limping
And me listening
And sapling shadows long across the path
Like a gate

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near the Gila Wilderness, where she writes poetry about the soul-importance of wilderness, performs it with her musician husband, Yaakov, and teaches seasonal poetry workshops that revolve around "wilderness writing."  She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer.  Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, and TheNewVerse.News  which recently nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize.