Here, on the road above San Cristobal, the sea-black tail of the magpie, its white chest,

and its cry of Maayg! Maayg! filling the breast and waist

of me, with sound, a kind of rocking,

as my face also feels the sun’s new burnish.


This is happiness, striding down this road, a single car every once

or twice an hour, as I walk and lean toward the mountain I see into

the distance, the distance itself filling with grace

of new green sage, the darker pine.


Yes, this compass of me, who loves it, it being my

sight-sigh, the brash grasses, pitch and timber of quiet,

where I am fragile, forgetting the lists, the to do’s and,

where I belong.


I felt so Here, how the sky opened my ribs,

pressed against me, and it seemed I walked through,

as if I were treading to somewhere new, though I’d

walked here so many times. Mine, I would think.


But the eye of history is always open. And its dense

gravity of land, and now this sickness — when

a stranger, his own voice hawk-like, drives

his beaten truck alongside me, leans out his window,


“Foreigner!” he shouts. “Get out! I

live here! You

bring disease. Get out,

You, You!”