By John Gardiner
My lover encircles me here. She’s more than flowers
or trees, more than rocks, sediment or scree. She’s rare
as canyon rainbows, solitary as the morning star,
lonely as the moon. She’s hawk, coyote, bobcat, oak,
sycamore, cactus. She’s been our sentry for thousands
of years. Dominion is not in her reckoning. When you walk
upon her, remove your shoes. Beneath her are cracks
and fissures, tectonic plates that slide and grate.
She’s the first and last breath, and once you kiss her,
your lips will never separate. She carried you into this life
and she’ll carry you out. When you’re nothing more than ash,
she’ll be the wind that scatters your memory
to the four corners of the next world.