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  • On a clear day,
    from the foothills,
    the roads wink with silent spangled traffic,
    red-roofed clusters of the towns lie still as turtles in the sun,
    farther on, the towers of the city rise up from the plain,
    like beacons,
    like promises,
    like fangs

    here on the pathways,
    the margins of last night’s ice trickle away.
    In their winter pasture, the bulls doze
    A butterfly, yellow and bright as a scrap of sunlight,
    dances in the wind
    in the arroyo, a shepherd follows his flock
    their bells echo along the rocky slopes
    the air smells of wool and rosemary

    in the high sierra
    the peaks are bright with snow
    through the clouds, shafts of light
    point out the eternal wonder
    of a field, a stone wall,
    the flash of a stream
    where it slips between the trees
    and cloud shadows write riddles
    among the rocky folds

    but today, a brown and yellow haze,
    night airs trapped beneath a cap of cold,
    winds among the towers and spills onto the plains
    like a sigh
    like a gasp
    and rises like a silent wave

    I wait for it and wonder
    where the line of it will fall
    when it washes up against the lower slopes,
    this surf of a long flooding tide,
    and I wonder, who will be here to hear its thunder.
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