in the midst
of summer’s blistering heat
births, people dying
left and right,
Obama halts deportations,
a flesh-eating bug
eats a woman,
and there’s a Tiger
in the U.S. Open.
the world’s going broke,
down the toilet
terrorists, child molesters,
death and politics
who the hell
worshipped, lusted after
frighteningly old now,
Gene Bloom, great local poet,
died the same day
as guitar legend Doc Watson,
my sister’s biopsy
came back benign
holding my breath
pushes a hundred today
rising from the pavement
—Kim Clyde, Sacramento
gathering seeds and bells
and shiny things—
pine resin and myrrh oil—
feathers and bits of broken robin eggs.
Shrines for spirits—
for attracting desires—
creating small spaces to express
devotion— to project hope—
to summon something larger. . . .
No need to build a pyramid
or reach into forever.
For me, small wooden boxes
balance satisfaction with desire.
—Katy Brown, Davis
forked tongues, quick as lightning;
smooth sulfur underbellies;
black stare— obsidian intense.
Mostly, they’re not interested in you and me.
None of the local ones are hunting the cat;
and aside from the odd urban rattler,
they are harmless— locally.
I mention them because I saw a dead snake
beside the road on the way home last night.
All grace and a million years of stealth—
a flattened twist beside the lane.
I wondered who would swerve out of traffic
to run over a snake.
The spot was far from urban development
and not near a bike path.
My headlights tunneled through the dark
and I kept thinking about the snake: helpless
against a car and the killer behind the wheel.
I wonder at a wider intolerance
barreling over any foreign thing,
no matter how far removed.
I think it is time to talk about serpents
and apples again; and the sound
of a stone axe smashing a brother’s skull.