Skin of Dust

Skin of Dust

by James Lenfestey

Flying over the great knobby spine of the country,

rising up snow-capped and drifting,

I see her skin of dust.


And for the ten or twenty minutes

it takes to pass over, I can believe

in the curvature below, that it is

natural, growing and sloughing

as it always has, like the old reptiles.


And that I do not need to grieve,

this heartbreak, as the grids

reveal themselves, the weeds of roads,

the  pit mine’s azure eye,

vacant staring iris of water,

the cigarettes of cancerous smoking coal plants

(“plant,” as if erupting grass, a jonquil!)


The awful despoliation

around the great salt shadow of Utah

and Nevada’s dead white bicarbonate lakes.


From up here, dinosaur earth greens,

skin ignoring her lesions, cancerous, terminal,

her rumbling gut, her gasps for wholesome breath.


A simple cloud floats over

leaving a lake of shade,

irregular as a carcinoma.

Special thanks to James Lenfestey,

from his Earth in Anger: 25 Poems of Love and Despair

(Red Dragonfly Press © 2012)

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