Mountain’s Big Toe

To either side of the road, the desert stretches
farther than the eye can see, farther than barbwire ranges.
The wet sand in the past three arroyos testifies to snow melt
under a thin layer of granules, white where a coyote scratched.

A clear sky is bisected by one blurry contrail.
The trailhead trashcan overflows with recent party scraps.
Empty beer bottles dot the trail for a mile, maybe more.
Some, wind-scrubbed clean of labels.

Once past the blackened wood of a party fire,
no litter displays itself, unless incorporated into bird nests,
like that pink yarn strand woven into the sticks below
a thrasher’s tail sticking upward, silent mother warming eggs.

Eventually, the trail reaches a stream as it peters out,
absorbed by the wet sand, yet the current darkens another sixteen feet.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

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