Signs of the Times
The white buffalo has been born
in the west and the two-headed calf.
How can you be sure these are the signs?
An unkindness of white ravens
rises in the northwestern forests.
Did you note the eclipse of the Harvest Moon?
Have you thought long about the sunset?
Well, have you?
A pink dolphin frolics in a Louisiana lake.
What does it all mean?
Have you studied the names and added
their numbers, analyzed the qualities
of heat and moisture, cold and dryness?
What does it mean to be here in this world
of physical properties where lead doesn’t
transmute to gold, but poisons the water?
Rattlesnakes coil in the limestone cliffs
strung with opal gemstones: creatures of fire.
The soft blue damselflies, born of water,
hover so near, I could write with one,
their ink of the sky.
Where is the modern elixir, our hunting
of the green lion and the yellow lodestone?
While children are caged beside a fictional border.
Where the mercury thermometer rages upward,
and the coyote breathes in smoke-filled air.
At a Trumpet’s Blast
We shall become known
whereas until that time we shall have been
unknown to ourselves, such as dark matter
is known by absence of light and presence
of gravity, starlight leaking.
If this absence of photons is your answer.
Whatever the question was, it’s the one
you’ve been given. Let go your cupped hands
so that the solitary leaf-cutter bee can pollinate
the star-crossed bougainvillea and solar flare Tecoma.
She is all the universe we’ll ever need,
dark matter nesting in the knotty pine fence.
Her monotonous song, ever-circling.
When the trumpet sounds, will we be
left behind? Will she be the one transformed?
Say it to the scrub desert, your answer
is the pollen, golden sacrament on black
legs, this galaxy now, circling a black hole
and whatever dark matter holds it all together.
Small Pools in a Dry Rio Grande
The Great Blue Heron stays by the empty river
while the Divine explodes in every star.
A few minnows angle in pools left over from drought
as Divinity suffers. A father and son also fish
for the rare minnows to use as bait at the big lake
north of here, Elephant Butte. I try to figure out
how Divinity suffers while the dog bites the heads
off dead fish and romps through the small pools.
Four and a half billion years after a super-nova
rocked a cloud of dust and gas,
the heron nests in Afghan pines on the east bank.
An underground channel keeps the river alive
while the barest spark hints at the Divinity.
Some activists filed suit on behalf of the river.
The heron reflects by the small pools and considers
dancing as I wonder why no one sued in her name.
I follow heron footprints in dry sand, so much sand
in my shoes, it bruises my toes. The dog splashes
in small pools, and the heron flies off to her nest.
In slow wingbeats, I hear the Divine Rhythm.
Observed and unobserved, super-novae burst around us.
The pine trembles as she settles on a large branch,
scaly yellow feet around it, midnight wings folding.
Robin Scofield is the author of Flow (Street of Trees Projects), winner of the Southwest Book Award. Her poems appear in Rio Grande Review, Main Street Rag, and The Texas Poetry Calendar 2021. She writes with the Tumblewords Project in El Paso, where she lives with her husband and her Belgian Shepherd dog.