First the Wind


It’s strange how the eucalyptus trees seem to suck up
all the wind. Each slender leaf rattles against shreds
of flaked bark as the silent cypress and scrub oak listen
in stillness to the staccato back beat of the storm
stirring the clouds gray in the distance.

First the wind, then the letting go
of rain, these brown hills now brushed
with the green silk of spring, deer droppings
horse prints, bicycle tracks; you could walk
these hills to the Monterey bay and back
and never see a mountain lion,
hear her intake of breath as you sing
your mouth into the shape of the royal “om,”
feel your teeth vibrate with the music
you’ve become. Lie down in snake grass and watch
thistles bloom, red tail hawks circle,
finger a dried onyx-colored beetle with no legs
like jewelry for the dead. Deep rivuletspast storms
form ever larger holes in the earth,
become caves to no where you want to be.

Always back to the dry riverbed, the distant
purr of traffic, legs swollen from the effort.
You pause to listen and remember this sound
of eucalyptus as the answer to all the questions
left behind as silver stones in moonlight
no bird would ever mistake for food.

Maria Garcia Tabor