Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 25: Salvation can be found_______

Today's prompt started haunting me the moment I woke up.  I get up early to prepare my lessons and write and this morning as I walked out of my office it was still dark, but a dawn chorus had erupted.  It was amazing.  I could hear everything from song birds to wild turkeys.  Then, an hour or so later on my drive over Roblar road the green hills were bathed in syrupy sunlight.  It was so beautiful, it was almost too much to bare.  It got me thinking about what it must have been like to live there (as the Coast Miwok did for centuries) and not be willing to give it up to anyone.  This draft is about the story that haunted me as I drove to work today.

There’s a Ghost in This Machine of Air

Salvation can be found before light comes

the dawn chorus tightening the fogged air
then sun rises to reveal the massive
green flanks of hills rolling back to the sea,
a lone black calf, itching his shoulder on
a telephone pole, or a rotting barn
commanding a hill’s sharp crest. There are ghosts
that flit past my car window as I pass.
The Irish immigrant who settled here
built a cabin on crane creek, planted wheat,
was surprised by the young Miwok men who
ran bare-chested down the flanks of the hills,
their arms elongated by fiery
sticks of tule that hissed and burned. The settler
would escape but his cabin and wheat fields
burned to the ground. He never returned to
the rolling green hills, the dawn chorus, that
had hypnotized him because he understood
why one might run, arms aflame, to save this.

Of course, it was only a matter of
time until other white men came to take
Kota’ti. But each day until the next
The hills rolled green to the sea, and the men
watched the fog roll in silently at peace.

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