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Linens Near a Ghost Town

ISSUE:  Summer 2009

White linens dry on the clothesline.
Among almond trees the gardener wearing
a red shirt waters each one. Their roots
gather moisture like settlers did gold in a

neighboring town now deserted. Lorca wrote
a play with that terrain in mind.
There is one house left. The roof has fallen.
The walls are holes.

Trucks pass in the distance where
a river once ran. Dust arteries behind them.
Everything parched. Grass is a tapestry of ocher.
Pines are losing green to brown.

They have found bones here. The oldest human
remains on this continent  a hippopotamusan elephant.
The mountain in the distance is jagged.
When it ruptured lava slid down arid edges.

Cooled the whole mass
appeared black slickglass
difficult to climb arresting to onlookersthe
earth inside out. The air was unable

to be breathed atmosphere
of charged ash. Who will
rewash those once clean linens
blowing in soot?

Perhaps sparrows after their remigration
to the peninsula. Isabella is dead.
All is safe now. Rainwater
to submerge soiled cloth.

Songs among dry reeds.
Parched olive branches twist
about rusted wire. Calm now
but nothing fresh.

Yes. Air land seemingly
destroyed yet abundant with bulbs.
Huge egg-colored linens billow.
We have learned to surrender.


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