Is it flame you want? The infectious burnt-orange underbelly of cloud? Resplendent wash craved
by coyotes to copper burnished
fur with winter’s imposter of sun-borne heat? Radiance lent to, trapped by, stone,
so that next day’s waking
might hold some promise beyond hunger?
A greying dappled sky, I’d rather. With confusion of too-soon cranes against an altostratus skein sifting
most sun away until
the only light resembles that of moon, inhale the pewter taste like ash in air.
Across the canyon, from a juniper rooted in a crevice in the ocher cliff, a raven calls, begging her mate.
I sense the feathered
noise of his shadow shed the cliff followed by the silent shadow above me
of what can only
be an owl. I imagine the nest
goes crimson. I am unable
to bridge the chasm’s maw. Against unmelted snow, I watch from mesa’s rim as the grulla,
black-faced dog works the unthawed,
pebbled slope, white, splashed with cindered
reds slick as blood on volcanic glass, hunting
perhaps for scented hare or heard lark,
or shivering dove, or prey other than my clamoring, breathless heart
spinning with the dying ember of this coaling
earth, this fragile gate, this fallen
veil from wildness.