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)