One of Them
Rick Kempa

In the cliff dwelling sitting cross-legged
leaning my head against the crumbly shale,

my eyes open to a place high in the cliffs
across the canyon where a skein of bright green
unravels down a steep wash,

my eyes closed, so that the silence weighing
in these rocks presses against my inner ear,
their denseness entering my pores,

and open again—seeing this time into the heart
of the juniper beside this ledge: its shredded bark,
translucent fruit, the shape of the space it claims.

Every time, everywhere I look, a new world. 
I could stay, should stay, in this place
of otherworldly peace, this place of seeing

where I am a beginner always, a place of home
where I am welcome because I am,
in the way that matters, one of them.

All too soon, a raven’s stark cry carves the air
above the bottomlands, and this home,
like all others, I turn away from.

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