No Country for White Men

Hunt the unmarked turn-off, missing it completely.
Then U-turn on the high-speed two-laner to nowhere,
through disappointed pilgrims abandoning the Canyon on a dark morning,
rain looming in the up-country hills,
manifest of a sudden like an unhappy destiny…

Then drive six feet more before the ragged pavement
crumbles all to freewheel in dust,
dry yellowish stuff the weight of a secret
we’ll soon be swallowing soon
if we stay here much longer.

Bump down a few hundred tenuous yards
until you pass the hiding place of the pickup
where a tall and younger man attends his stash,
or crop (maybe), or buried treasure: take your pick.
What other reason to be here? And what cause to stay

when you know in your heart
miles of clatter-trap rattling lie ahead
through unlikely turns in the fossilized dust of eons
before you admit that no hidden gem of the creator’s hand,
preserved surely for you, awaits your arrival by means

of the once sparkle-clean rental?
So you turn, just anywhere, the first bare possibility,
the thirst for safety rough in your throat, and the tacit prayer
that Mister Sinister will smell no sickly need
to follow you home.

At the Burial

As in most families, they could not get the Love to talk to the Brain.
So how was he to know? And so now he was alone.
He cried and clamored like the ancient child he was
when they left him behind, in the home, the city’s best, but still ‘a home’…
where anyone could have told him he was likely to end up.
But no one did, believing, perhaps, that he could no longer hear,
given the steady extinction of sense dropping from his mind
with an almost audible hiss.

And even then, throwing the dirt by the reluctant shovelful,
onto the wooden ship of her departure, the sound that it made
was of one hand clapping, because no one had reached for the other,
saying Dad, Listen! You have to do this now,

or at the end—hers (if not yours)—you will be alone,
pawing with ancient fingers at the children of your loins
and begging not to be left behind.