From Desert Chrome: Water, a Woman, and Wild Horses in the West
Detritus: Sierra Nevada, 1971. October light leaks in between slats of graying barn wood. A yellow stripe marks Craig’s cheek, his shoulder. I taste salt and smell the sun on his skin and in the hay beneath me that makes our bed in the neighbor’s old hay barn, a place we run to in daylight. We have other places for the night when it’s colder, another neighbor’s bunkhouse already shut up for the winter but not locked. I hear Craig’s brothers roaming the afternoon near the house on the hill where I live with Craig’s family while I finish high school. I hear the wind in the ponderosas I love as I love this boy, this man, whose skin touches mine. We think we’re hidden though the wind that slips between the long sweet needles of those big trees slips between hundred-year-old planks of even older trees and I feel a chill as the boy-man-child slips into me. I watch the yellow light on his cheek on his shoulder move like our hearts like our bodies like the day through October and all I know is this moment, this breath, his skin, my depth; I don’t know, can’t possibly guess, that he will fall beneath a falling ponderosa, a tree destined to become wood that instead becomes death. That I will leave behind in a daze of drugs the light through the cracks in the barn on his shoulder on his cheek in October and the mountains and valley and horses and rivers and all I have known up till then.