Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Panther Beds

Walking further
into the county’s wild
beyond the pavement
and the road

he climbed
out of the redwood forest
into the tanoak
and finally

on the edge
of the serpentine
below the ridge
of the chaparral
he saw
the panther’s cypress

The grove was thick
with young trees
and the soil well covered
with scaly leaves

Amid these
were the snags
of burnt elders
(just a few)
left to their rotting

The cones opening
in the heat
of the reproductive fire
that killed the forebears
left a carpet of seedlings
that now enriches the barrens
by the brush
and ledges
where the panthers breed

Avocet, 2000

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