Late Autumn in the Anthropocene

— Russell Brakefield

Dillon Pinnacles, Thanksgiving 2021

Broken skin of ozone strips us

                                    to short sleeves, short pants. Old language

            on the signage points to richer rivers, meat

in the hills, time-dense stone. Then, to silence. Below,

                                    the reservoir wanes. A day moon hangs on. Water gone,

                        the banks bloom striation. Some unseen

magician waves and leaves behind an abstract

                                    painting—silt, algae, twisting turquoise water lines.

                        If grizzlies still lived here, my father says,

I bet that’s where they’d go. He points

                                    to a swatch of white on the horizon,

            a quilt thrown over a crook in the San Juans.

On its top is a bear shaped stitch or

                                    a rock shaped stitch, a tear where snow’s

            begun to melt. Simple sunspot or ancient wintering monster,

the world in past or present tense.


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