The Dance of Changes

Summer hills in California
are yellow with sunburnt foxtail and mustard weed.
Imagine your way back before
their seeds were brought from Spain
caught in the wool of sheep.
Imagine the short grass still green
around Painted Rock
under a solstice moon.
See the robes of pelican and eagle
feathers bounce and float,
bounce and float on the backs
of the dancers circling night and day.
The red ochre paint on the rock still shines
as bright as a wound.
Brown girls in a row stand naked
under the full moon.
Imagine their transformation
from girls to women.
Imagine this place without us
as I imagine how you
once stood by a frozen lake
at dawn
watching geese take flight
toward the rising sun.

by m.j.smith

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