On this road and throughout the countryside
You see it: two boards and a chewed-up leather
Strap with which they’re loosely strung together
Knocked into the ground where someone died.
Rocks. The fire-tufted ocotillo trees’
Thin shadows lengthen, and at dusk a man
Comes to fill a battered coffee can
With calla lilies. Here the new day decrees
Another one, and memory decays
Unable to remember what it was
Quickened the heart awhile or gave it pause;
What settled it in this unlikely place?
What is the mind that it does mind, after all,
Though set apart even from itself, that words,
Deprived of their senses, lie like pots and sherds
Lumped in the clay they consecrate and call
Up, as from nothing, some place, this countryside
Or any — the strict sand, the sleek mirage, pale ash
Blown off a smoldering pile of roadside trash
A stray dog roots around in, teary-eyed.
— Edwin Frank