Issue Forty - Summer 2022


By John Hicks

It’s not the sweeping rain that never reaches
dry-topped mesas buttressing the river,
and not this rumpled bed of hills around us,
or copper flashing wings of the flicker
that feeds on berries in our junipers,
not roadrunner’s leap into the prickly hawthorn,
then hopping branch to branch to our roof,
not even sand slipping grain-by-grain
into the track of the mountain lion.

Not twilight pulling color from our day
that leaves behind a milk-thin pool of moon,
and not the ears-back, elbows-up bobcat
that drinks from melted snow near the gate,
nor whispered pounce of owl on the roof,
not burst of coyote voices, one, another,
another, the clarity hair-raising
surprise—not knowing that they were so close.

It’s my waking in the quiet
to this piñon silhouette
shadowed on the moon-white blind;
soft your breathing in the dark,
fragile as the day to come.

Copyright Hicks 2022