Backyard Treasures
by Gail Denham

One doesnít lope quickly through sage
and bitter brush. Silence slows you to a gentle
walk, picking your way, watching for rusty
tin cans—punched, flattened—bent license plates,
or, if youíre lucky, a bleached cow skull with horns.

Something to reveal the age of your land—spots
where cook fires left permanent dark areas,
perhaps part of a shattered pottery bowl, or straps
that might be part of a military knapsack.

Thereís treasure in that wide open acreage
I explore with grandkids. Perhaps after
a search, the beauty of sunís glow on junipersí
ancient knots and swirls, or lichen-covered stones
(which all sat—stock still—watching history
unfold) will be your greatest find.

Sit quiet,
watch summerís afternoon sun tell stories
on misshapen, lightning-shattered, split snags.
Listen to those tales. You wonít come away
empty.


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