Calico Trail

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“Calico Trail,” New Era, June 1997, 51

Calico Trail

Stained calico hangs

neatly on a peg,

accusing me of leaving

the old hearth fire for a land

where starved dust clouds

grow taller than the poplars.

I am the desert red

that creeps into every space

between the sagebrush, grass, teeth,

the cracked churn for butter

brought across the great emptiness,

the rough pine bread board,

the summer clouds that gather

at the valley’s edge, taunting.

Sometimes I am the storm

that teases the dust fields to be green.

Always, I am accustomed to

the slanting farmhouse porch,

the heat from days without rain,

the cricket songs,

and the creaking of the loom

that promises fresh calico

in a week.