Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Dust and Guns and Sometimes Islands

We remembered rain once
and talked about flowers

and then we rode five days
without saying a word.

The horses kicked up dust
and we’d been riding so long,

the sky grew thick and lowering,
a collapsing roof suspended.

We noted the bloodberry blooms
around the drying lake bed

where the sometimes islands
grew into always mountains

where dead buoys lay
like the bleached skulls of robots.

These were good signs.

We pulled our guns and made
our way toward the farther shore.

Sometimes a title comes and you build a poem around that. This one gets filed into the occasional series of narratives involving wanderers in a drought-stricken wasteland. Should be lots of good source material around here this summer.

(The Sometimes Islands are the occasional islands that appear in Lake Travis during drought years.)


  1. And the title has a great rhythm to it too, which leads into the rhytms of the poem. Excellent.

  2. A wonderful kind of dusky, sad, forlorn beauty in these images!

  3. Thank you, both, I appreciate your reading and your comments.

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