Twists & Turns

The early bird changes each day.
Junco. Thrasher. Dove. One of several Finches.

Watching them I get the sense
that yesterday is meaningless.

My impression is watery Time
treats them all as duck backs to roll off.

When the hawk arrives
shadow first or on the rooftop

the cholla becomes a prickly shelter
as long as the wee birds keep clear of the thrashers’ nest.

I witnessed a dove out fly a hawk
with tight twists & turns

that any dog-fighting pilot
would envy.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Snow Will Fill It Next

The empty nest
is a bird nest
in the cholla
outside our bedroom.
The thrashers left it
after their fledglings
flew up to the roof top.

This is the third time
this summer
the nest has filled
and emptied.

I think the thrashers
build the nest taller
over the previous egg shells.
The nest looks
more like a twig and stick
high rise
at this point.

Though I try,
the cholla’s arms
prevent me
from peering down
into the bottom
of the nest.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


No matter
how well
Paul feeds his cat,
adding fish scraps
to her dry
or canned food,
he cannot
stop her
from wishing
to taste
the finches
she spies
on the thistle feeder
from her perch
on the bedroom
window sill.

Yet, when
she steals outside,
the enormity
of the world
beyond the door
her knowledge
of her ignorance
of things
like cholla,
prickly pear,
and the neighbor’s
Jack Russell Terrier
that slips under
the fence slats
to tree her
in the Mimosa.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


A cholla snagged bits of light from a single ray.
It repeated Morse’s S O S, but the ground
folded a wrinkle to swallow the message
unseen by hikers and mountain bikers.

A canyon towhee happened by.
With multiple backward jump-scratches
it liberated some dirty S’s & O’s from the wrinkle,
but swallowed most of them down like feed.

A ferrel dog startled the towhee into flight,
grabbed the plastic six-pack ring
dangling from the cholla for a tugging game,
like it once played with its former human.

When the plastic six-pack ring in the dog’s mouth
broke free from the prickly cholla,
the cactus ceased interrupting sun beams
and the ground ironed the wrinkle flat.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dianne and I do a lot of walking (hiking) on the foothill trails at the eastern edge of Albuquerque. We see too much litter. Some dropped by people. Some windblown from the nearby city. Some pink dog poop bags that other hikers never seem to return and pick up. Some days we pick up a few pieces of litter and deposit them in the trash bin and other days we do not.

I would like our governments to place the onus of recycling materials on the manufacturer instead of the customer. That way the cost of recycling is built into the purchase price, where I think it should be. I would like items such as thin, transparent plastic grocery bags banned completely. It is happening slowing city by city.

I have a habit of giving human characteristics to animals, minerals and plants. There is a fancy word for this trait that is just out of my minds reach at the moment. I do this because it aids me in seeing non-human beings as worthy of respect and good treatment, so I do not perpetrate the casual violence of littering when carrying it to a bin is inconvenient.

I am sure you have your own mental tricks and practices to be a better person, to care for this land we live upon. Thanks for employing them.

Love & Light