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Robin Scofield

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.

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