The Foothills


One dead tree

on a featureless plain.

Windswept grassland,

empty and forlorn.

Reddish gold scrub brush

shudders under an uneasy sky.

Far in the distance,

dark forests climb,

until the mountains break through

to point accusingly upward.

A cold wind moans mournfully.

The sun

lingers behind cover,

as if dismissive of this place.

Here and there

an old game trail,

but nothing’s been this way

in quite a while.

The valley echoes,

but not with sound.

it is a memory of pain

that calls out.

That lone tree,

stands like a discarded bone.

A remnant of the life

that once existed here.

In the grass,

just under the dirt,

lay many bones.



and older.

Hard to even tell

what kind of tree it once was.

Possibly birch,

the only hardwood that grows

out west.

How does this one stand?

Is it the depth of its roots?

Or the strength of its trunk?

Who knows.

A lonely sentinel

in a dead place.

A place that life avoids

for fear of remembering.

A lone wolf howls.

Its call echoes

through the foothills

in the last light of day.

The wind keeps up

its endless sigh.

It is late season,

but even in winter

nothing changes.

This land remains




DJR – 2023

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