A CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN
Lesser high prairie, Wyoming, wide without dance partners;
a Devil's Tower, pronghorns in snow leap but leave no tracks,
wind song rustling grass atop abandoned bone depositories;
settlers rarely paused, not taken by fly cast or cutthroat hook.
Tower Bar & Grill conflates cafe identity with lofty namesake.
Anonymous town action is powdered pulverulence: dust settles
On shaded, empty windows the full-length Main, the only road.
A rent of black cloth, a beer can, and petunias dishevel sides of
The highway, where the speed limit avidly resumes, horizon bent.
Don't search here for civilizing unless you know where to look.
A former short-order cook in the 30's, perhaps a Depression victim,
Named the grill Exuberance at the Café Burlesque, without a smile.
But inside, serving up joy, you’ll come upon Cadence, an attraction
Voicing a pure pitch, high like water flowing from a crystal fountain
Overall collective patrons rapt with food, all prone to rotundity, each
Plateful announced to recipients as next import to the Crystal stage,
The next to be anointed in precious oils with every coin forked over
Along the side of a seldom-used county road
(Punted, passed and kicked by local politicos)
No grain bin, tree, animal, no house sighted,
Stands a man more ill at ease at his collar
As his minutes pass; his posture is a plea
To the sun like a blind, ravenous chick,
Ignorant of its next meal, always charged.
I hear him ask: “Don’t you still trust me?”
He holds his phone high in expectation.
When finally his shoulders droop as if
His lungs have emptied by law of gases,
He gasps as eternity gains occupancy
In his soul for rent; phone still at hand
As if Providence were lonely here too,
He snaps another selfie: a day in isolation.
SERVICE TO HISTORY
Our whole community acknowledges desecration
Up top of Indian Rise, our freehold from an era
Of doubt and duplicity, but at this time, not guilt
Or reparations. History will not be excavated,
Like an avalanche that picks its spot and falls,
The chance of the draw, roulette’s white ball
So lightly comprised that gravity has its soul.
Ceremonies on the Rise still occur; no buffalo
Of course, no witchcraft in the fog, no blood
To slake spirits whose secrets favor the bold;
But we’ve heard of mysteries, even miracles.
Light itself no longer depends on candle breath;
In progress, we all concur history is well served