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By Frank Kearns

There is nothing in Blue Gap.
The air moves through the creosote and sage.
The plain slopes upward
toward a range of ridges miles away.

Joey’s shack is off the road,
reached by a rutted driveway
where a ceremonial circle of stumps
guard a fire wood pile.

In the distance a hundred sheep graze.
They know to come back at night
to the old sheep pen of quartered logs,
grayed and cracked with age.

A mile up a dirt road
are the remnants of winter camp,
where the wind blows the grasses clear
of ice and drifting snow,

where his mother as a child
stood guard against the coyotes,
and slept with the sheep
through the long cold nights.

She left for California,
a quest that became an exile
the anchors of children and chains of money
and an old weaving loom in her living room.

At night she dreams
of the sunset light,
the gap between the ridges,
blue gray in the distance,

and the emptiness that Joey left
when he headed East,
past Flagstaff to a place
that pulled at his bones.

As the sun slants low, the wind
is the only sound that moves across the mesa,
at this place, Blue Gap, that makes no claim
on the map of Arizona.

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