I could smell the red clay – dry, pleasantly
Natural, unpleasantly sweet like hay
In the field – holding the flattened grass tight
To the cracked earth with increasing resolve,
As the heat swelled in the days where evening
Seemed to never come. Walking among the
Giants grunts, rumbles, silence – listening to
The ancient clacking dialect of their
Two-toed shoes. Strange enchanted tones that
Made the modern me want to turn tail,
Run, the ancestral me to stay. To stay
And translate what it made me feel, you feel,
Because you were of different comfort.
You grew up in their unsettling shade.
You knew most by name, maybe by their look.
This seemed clear in the way they stared
Sideways when you made that noise, the same one
That set my mind to calm, to deep, deep stillness.
Unlike the swaying horizon, shaken,
Shivering in the wake of evening winds
That stirred dust from ground and matted hair
Alike, blending titan forms into soft
Impressionist forms, backlit by gradient
Yellow to orange. The earthy hue
Of our hosts’ unkempt, unbathed, unabashed locks,
Caked in brown mud, sparsely transformed to grains
Of dust so fine that when sent airborne
Appeared as twisting wisps of coughed smoke;
Invisible on your muted olive skin,
Showing as tiny moving freckles on mine.
With each movement by me or the wind,
Which now seemed to calm and cool even further,
The sun proceeded to fall at once
From sight, from feel, causing an audible
Shiver from us both, and from the silhouettes
That appeared far less threatening without mass
To give depth to their melancholy sighs;
Announcing end to day’s patent exposure,
Which returns red at dawn; an ember
Forced through cool, blue tinted night skies.
Print from a 35mm negative. The image was taken on the day I wrote about in the poem.