The American West    

The Desert

For miles beyond,
the shimmering salt flats
cruelly tease the eye into seeing
a vast body of water, when it
is only water's ghost, a skim on
thick mineral and salt deposits from an ancient lake with no outlet.

The Ocean

Waves arch their massive backs, heaving themselves
against the granite rocks.
Because the Continental Shelf drops so abruptly to deep
ocean here, their thunder is penetrating, sudden.

The Prairie

The mid and tall grass prairie is fast- action animation, miming the wind's every movement.
Grasses tease the wind
out of the air.
A field moves as one being, rattling, waving,
making serpentine shapes, shimmying,as it is whipped and combed by wind.

The Canyon

The canyon is chockablock
with shadows
that shift with the moment.
Next comes the sundowner wind.
Red rock is painted with
deep purple hues,
and wind-whipped
swallows and bats play
Chutes and Ladders.
Then, darkness.

The Mountain

It catches the brunt of
Pacific storms,
drawing weather to itself
like a magnet,
churning it into snow,
and in the summer,
spilling millions of gallons
of crystalline water down its sides.
The Sacramento, McCloud
and Shasta rivers are
all born on this mountain

The Dune

Occasionally a storm blows
in from the northeast
and the shapely
transverse ridges
roll back on themselves
like a French seam.
This type of dune, its crests
sashaying atop the ridge line,
are so reminiscent of
the Great Wall of China,
it is called a Chinese wall.

for more work inspired by the
American West, see:
The Western Trilogy I & II, Artist's Books; and
The Western Horizon
, published by Abrams with commentary by Mary and photos by Macduff Everton