3 Poems–Ruth Bavetta

Plumas County

Graeagle lies next to Blairsden
not far from Mohawk
on the way to Johnsville.

At the cabin, the numbers have fallen off
and been eaten by forest litter
like ghosts pulled into shadow.

Pale gold of meadow grasses,
chartreuse candled by late afternoon,
wind carrying the voice of pines.

I untwist my hair the color of fog.
The past fades in the light
like a line of cedars

receding to a vanishing point.
This entanglement is all I know,
and the apple tree, still standing.

Ode to Amphibia

Praise to the chorus
of bullfrog and cricket frog,
the long-toed salamander,
the crested newt
and the smooth.
To frogs with poison
tucked behind their ears,
Praise to all things
clad in permeable skins.
To the narrow-mouthed toad
the Texas toad,
the Spanish brook newt.
To everything
that slides its life
between the spheres
of soak and thirst.
To the salamander
with venom hidden
behind his eyes.

A Lament for August

The hills are fevered
and coughing dust, a pall
of smog air tarnishes the air.
There is no gift of breeze
and the skunk’s heavy scent
hangs over the valley.
In the black of three o’clock
the keening of coyotes
fills the night canyon.
I sleep under quilts of sultriness
and my dreams are hot.

RUTH BAVETTA has been published in many journals. Her books, Fugitive Pigments, and Embers on the Stairs, are forthcoming. She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

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