Saturday, October 22, 2011

Second October Selection

(south of Iquique)

stepping through the ruins
of saltpeter mines:

broken glass
sun-bleached leather shoes
tin cans scattered
over hardened desert floor.

darkened wood crosses
with the names of children
by a century’s worth of
dust devils.

the wood ties of the railbed
long ago removed,
the roofing
of the crumbling adobe
mining camps
also scavenged.

a mountain-sized
horizon of slag pile
hauled up upon itself
by brute force and sweat

the sun drops
behind the
coastal cordillera
and suddenly I am
in bitter cold and
golden light.

the full moon
is due east now.
in darkness
the moon’s halo
is only swirling dust.

--Glen Snyder

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