We wanted grasses, the long wild

native kind that knit and furrow roots

into deep moisture and know how to wait

—We couldn’t wait,

paid the man with big machinery to scrape

the cactus on that rise by the river that used to be

a pre-dam sandbar. We don’t know

what used to be here before

the grazing, the growing, the scraping

and the dams.

—Now I know the hidden

thin tissue, darkened with black lichen,

dotted with powdery green mosses, woven with fine

filaments of fungi, algae and bacteria—

crust of living skin, a long time coming

life binding life for more—

We wanted more

grasses and forage for birds and elk

who come through

—Dust blowing. Carbon

gone with the cactus—

Here, tell me

what is wild?

What was fixed

by sheathe and sheets and threads,

made from dust and air and little

water—captured, held, alive—

we tried to fix—


Crypto meaning hidden,

gamic meaning marriage. We wanted

what we wanted.