Gay Writes

Gay Writes: Poems

By Ked Kirkham


Clouds, drifting south, cooler,
bank upon the warm
up-drafting air.

They collide,
tumble over one another,
break apart,
bubble and rise again.

They pass beyond the Wasatch range.

These are not our water carriers,
they seek out some other place, some other people.

We wipe our brows and watch them fly;
as earthbound man always has.

And as we always have,
We think,
what can we do?
who can we blame?
where can we beg a reprieve.

As in childhood
we believe the heavens are at our beckoning,
or we at their mercy.
But these
are merely clouds
coming south, cooler.


Heat in summer;
Poker hot
Glowing from the fire
New moon.

On the edge of darkness.

The western edge
Above the black
Below the ether.

Inky virgae,
Of summer,
Thinned to a vapor;
A shadow,
A trace,
A victim
Of heat
In summer.


It is the dry season
Mud edges the creek
Cottonwood down drifts
Catching in the webs
Intended for gnats
And Box Elder bugs
Brick red
It is the dry season
It is the spider season
Crows are fledging
Coaxed and chastised
From branches above and below
As are clutches of mallards
And Canada geese
Scattered to scurry
Ahead or behind
Parents anxious to move on
It is the dry season
It is the fire season
Life can change quickly in this season


The basin is dry
One week after the storm.

The sun sears,
the heat penetrates.

Russian Olives are in bloom;
The sweetness
Finds a breeze
and follows the ditch and berm,
And Prairie Roses,
Climbing the fences
Before fading,
Pink into white,
with spring heat.

Bending at last,
Burdened with weight
Of the strangling morning glory.

Stalks of rusting seed spears
Expose the Curly Dock,
Whose leaves have withered,
Hanging yellow, hidden
In Reed Grass
Coming into its own,
Waving like an anthem,
Humming with the season’s flies.

Lichen fractures
And breaks,
Crunching beneath the step;
No trail has developed to avoid them.

Thistle, silver talons
At ready
To dissuade the cattle,
Cannot protect the flower,
Not yet formed,
From the moth and the wasp,
or the arid wind
Bearing the heat.

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