Bearing Witness

Soundlessly, evening shadowsslide down rough-barked trunks,flow across parched summer grass.

A bird calls (I imagine an owl)sounding like a dove only brighter.

Then the soft scraping sound of a branchtumbling through leaves and a lizard,feet sharp as stars, lands nearby.

The cat rises from her patch of figgy shadewith a delicious shiver; her bell jingles brightlyas if to say, hello-this is a whole other country.

Kathryn Joy Stevens

Forest of Air

Just try to rub the trees from your eyes,this haze of particulate holding off the sunand filling our lungs with leaf mold.

Slowly we are absorbed by this forest of air,its silence buzzing with the final sounds of menand animals a thousand miles south of here.

One day the wind will shift and the fires subside.Only the dust will remember the Mayan dialectand the long, resplendent feather of our shyest bird.

Chip Dameron

Kathryn Joy Stevens lives in Austin, holds advanced degrees in English and Technical Communication and works for a major computer company in marketing communications. Her work has been published in Borderlands and Southwest Poet, among many other places.

Chip Dameron‘s poems, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous literary journals over the past 25 years. His third collection of poems, Hook and Bloodline, was reviewed in the Observer. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

–Naomi Shihab Nye