(Journada del Muerto New Mexico:
Let not this heat dispirit me
that streams so fierce it blisters skin
past gaps which cover miles
or blinding light that turns the
blue hills white; but then the wind
a dragon’s breath that flattens scrub
and banshees on as though to
never end – but then a growl
that rumbles like the heaving earth
might rise, cascading in an
angry swirl to coffin
up scorched observation posts.
Please god, the work was fire: six
years of sweated midnight math,
precision grinding, shouted
disagreements while our soup
or scrambled eggs grew cold. The
path Prometheus took, made new.
What batters now no witness
on this Dead Men’s Trail dare say.
Ears plugged, we brace with stunned
relief against the booming
air -- exhale, and glance away.
First published in Spectral Lines: Poems About Scientists, An Anthology (Alternating Current Press, 2019)