Clean Away

A wake scheduled
for four-thirty in the morning
revels the scrape and rub
of knees and elbows
and the first lightning
of an approaching monsoon,
whose thunderclap
must be imagined
as six syllables
impacting the breastbone.

The gathered
form an imperfect circle
around a long time friend
who conjured the notion
that his ashes
be mixed
into the sandy ground
at first light.

The approaching storm
whips up such a violence
as we stir him
into the arroyo’s bank,
knowing the coming
flash flood
will strip him clean away.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lamb Of God

Where the arroyo ends
at a man-made berm
a tree sings the history of the mountain
its roots pull from the earth.

It sings the migration of atoms
and electrons from ground to sky.
And the natural chemical processes
altering substances.

The tree sings to attract those
who could make this spot a place of worship,
instead of a pause along a trail
that leads farther up the mountain.

It sings of a time when trees
shepherd the earth again.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney