A Land Before Time

A bobcat creeps between piñon pines
pursuing mule deer down a rocky spine,
oblivious to its sheer decline, to the canyon’s
daunting depth and size, its ageless grandeur.

A squaw squints hard against the blinding sun,
treads ancient crinoids to reach each bristlecone,
to harvest a fern bush, a sagebrush, the cliffrose,
adjusting a bark backboard to ease her childload.

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The Piute descends through a narrow crevasse
to her riverside garden of corn and squash,
to her dug-out oven firing bricks and pots,
to her pueblo hidden under a dome of rock.

Through scattered light in the great abyss
a raven soars on an upswept gust, hunts
cat-eared squirrels and chipmunk-rats
scurrying past fossilized dinosaur tracks.

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