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This Lot Has No Place

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a memory beautiful in youth and bleary-eyed
from the longest of guided night treks we offered.
In darkness, the campers parlayed with cows and
meditated, cross-legged with mountain chorus frogs,

slowly hiking the star-salted ridge, mostly bald
from years of grazing. pre-dawn, we descended
into a quiet valley, divers buoyed in crepuscular blue.
we find lush pastures bordered by cold streams,

divided by relaxed brown wire with sharp man-made thorns.
two desiccated husks of tan lizards impaled on these.
a flurry of pointed fingers, a soprano voice cried,
“the handiwork of a songbird, it’s the loggerhead shrike.”

sadism as part of its charm, I see a songbird villain:
cowboy boots over spindly legs, a hooked beak,
dark eyes under a Stetson with a band of silver medallions.
he leaves his cruel signature on cacti and barbwire.

they are not as common now, as they were then,
i think that i might blame gentrification.
this lot has no place with a sharp stiletto
in one hand, macchiato in the other.

i am lucky to remember this curious creature.
easily identified, at least by its brutal ways.
a memory from an early mystical journey
with as many years now, as I am likely yet to log.