Campsite on Highway 395
I pulled off the road on my trip north.
To the left, a broad path
led past a blockhouse
into the scrub oak and sage,
a land abandoned
to coyote and cattle.
No other traveled the highway,
but rustling feet, and a multitude of whispers
followed me into this empty land.
Desolation and despair flowed
from the pores of the earth.
Betrayal echoed up the canyons
and disappeared into silence.
A cry more human than the scream of rabbits
at the moment of death,
more fearful than the moment of birth,
slithered across rocky surfaces.
The warmth of August
would not banish the chill.
I returned to the car,
drove past the solitary rock structure
still standing dark sentry,
and headlights reflected the single word --
Published in 90 Poets for the 90's,