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by Jim Papworth

The Muldoon Creek Road bounces us
across its knuckles
as we intrude;
it wants to jar our memories.

Clouds like dingy sheep
drizzle their holdings
into August,
spraying the land with contempt.

A herd of mosquitoes chokes the air,
ricochets its whine
off quaking asp,
searches the poke of skin.

The copper mine on Whitney Butte
closed-ochre tailings
rattle the hills
with whisperings of clutched ore .

Sage coughs its musk into summer
and stains the basin gray;
roots crawl below,
hoarding the valley’s meagerness.

Like a hungry cat in winter
the land clamps dead calves                                                                                                          in stingy jaws-
next year’s teeth , bones, and bits of fur.

Willowwalls guard native brookies,
whose variegated bodies
feed streams
with translucent fear in shadows.