Rabbit Mt. Pome #2 May31


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Rabbit Mt. Pome #2

Rabbit Mt. Pome #2

Dustin Pickett

Published in Written River #10


The idea
of an altar to the gods
emerged from the deep fissured earth

Heaved up through intense heat & pressure
a rippling igneous child sucked back into the depths
meta   morph   ized

A dense, pocked slab laid up on the mesa
under fanned desert pines, scrawled with script of lichen

And here I sit
searching for an offering

The pines drop their seed-cones
& the sun lays out its light each day

On the fanned floor of the plain below
I can see the hard-ruled, sharp-angled ditch
dug by engineers and engineers’ minds
obtuse among the stony legs
of these hills

A rabbit & a serpent
playing ring-about-the-sumac
shrub—a serious game, the stakes
are death

All games proceed from this, predator & prey
whether or not you read bones or entrails,
fire-cracked shells, clouds of swallow-flight
or toss the dice

The fire swings on high—the moths rise up in the glow
I return my thoughts to the altar

Up ahead the trail bends
and the hard gnarled body of a pine bends with it

I lean and bask in the stillness of the bone-white stones
in my passway, rippled with the memory of seas
on this high, dry mesa

The golden eagle shrieks, a thunder-lizard’s child
taken wing, the bones emerge like knuckles of ships,
tiny lizards cling to breasts of stone, all is silent,
crickets & cicadas song is silence, we are the
ancient world, and the horizon is on fire

I circumambulate the ring of the mesa
passing from the eastern pines, to the dry west
flocked with bright chamisa
always returning to the altar

Walking back the gravel road
which winds wide, curving down
endless hills & valleys
dressed to the nines in grass
and wildflowers

One rustling cottonwood along that
gravel way, the shadowy flutter of rodents
in the brush—little mice in little grass huts

And what have we built? From here I see the stone silo
whose crop & store is stone, not grain
and the long pipe which channels water
from the engineers’ ditch
to crumble up the gravel for our roads
at what expense?

Don’t you know they ate
the holy mountains?

I do not doubt that we’ll forget one day
& say the world is flat

But for now I’ve left the altar as the thunderheads gather
in the west, the fine wind sweeping up my soft mortal dust
scattering me to corners nonexistent, and this ancient world

is one blue bead

along an endless string
of beads

and there is no altar
only beads


Dustin Pickett makes poems at the confluence of myth, the dreaming earth, and the narratives we carry within our bodies. He believes the best poetries are small encounters with an Other, a disturbance in our psycho-spiritual soil. He works as a violence prevention educator and advocate for those living with trauma, and he is a student of nature-based human development. He cultivates a garden and lives with his partner and three small children in Louisville, Kentucky. This is his first published work.