Sometimes I look and see that child in your eyes
Who believed his mother wise
and the source of all that love could deliver
Sometimes the teen who believed me only a fool
And my love was the greatest of lies.
Today I looked and saw a man
struggling just like me to find the pattern, master plan
that would make a treasured art mosaic
of all the broken pieces.
A new design another understands.
The people here try to raise chickens for eggs
a money saving venture in which
they often recoup the initial cost of chicks
but not the cost of feed
or cost of warming lights
or chicken wire
or sleepless nights listening to the closer
closer closer prowl and howl of drifting coyote
or the guttural and eirie growl of the indigent feline families.
The bobcats prowl the farms watching for the night the headlights don’t return at dusk,
No more than three days past its new, the moon is best; pale and friendly to the hunt.
Like gossip in a workplace they work themselves between the wires
The carnage complete before it has begun.
Too late the headlights break across the stacked hay and metal fences.
The family of egg eaters tumble laughing into the house.
Mother looks one dirt road over where last year a man planted two palm trees that tower garishly above the grandfather cactus she loves, and ticks her tongue in annoyance
Unaware this imported arboreal talent provides an island ambience
to the grateful Bobcat picnic of plump hen and rangy rooster.
Their futile feathered frenzy finished before the bright light shone
The other hens discuss the coop combat in quieter, and quieter tones
Until plumped and justified in their stories of quiet clucks and bucks they roost
Contented they weren’t the chosen ones.
Innocent of all but nature the local kitties lick and clean their paws.
Cold desert night ends
Morning and meaning its muse
girl and chair collide
concentric coffee eddies
challenge glass boundary
automobile windows stare
and follow their flight.
We strummed acoustic guitars and sang in groups
Of missing flowers, blowing winds
As they approached with billy clubs and shields
Hurling insults and orders.
We met each others eyes and held ourselves in check with our chain of stares
The biting smoke they unleashed made even my airy soprano
a bit more Janis Joplin.
Our eyes streamed tears and nose dangled mucous tributes to
And voices quavery with chemical fear
Rose again in growing tides and waves
Unison, “Give Peace a Chance.”
Until the boys in blue
roused the angry soldier in one of us
and he became at last what he had yet refused to be
And he rose up into contact with the billy club and shouted something back
that’s when the screaming started
and the bruises and the blood and the blame poured out
in American portions, service for one
but plenty for all to share.
I sat unmoving still keeping our three sets of eyes locked
Quietly caging our animal need to run, respond, fight back.
I had three stitches in my chin and two butterflies and my first bald patch on my head
You an armcast, and she with nothing broken
was witch green with healing bruises and a Jimmy Durante nose.
We were the lucky ones.
Who knew peace could hurt so much.
Five days later we buried the one who fought, the one who fled
Ourselves quite alive, only our belief in justice was dead.