March 1885

Rock Springs, Wyoming


“No work today,” the foreman says

and sends him home without pay. Not wanting

to face his wife, he walks


to the hills, where birds

are starting to return. There he watches


a train slither into town. He spits on the ground.


Chinamen pour out of boxcars

and march in line toward the mines. He hurls

his tools at a pile of rocks


and stomps in the muddy snow.

“As long as they’re here, there’s nothing for us!”


A baby bird cries. He finds it tangled

in sagebrush and cradles it

on the long scar in his left palm.


“Come here, little one. Where did Mother go?”