Is there something here, lost among
layers of damp leaves across the creek,
mixed and covered, year after year –
a forgotten voice, perhaps, like old man
Steadman’s? Maybe a little left behind
after his hogs cleaned-up, rooted through
the floorboards the last time he fed them.
Gone for days, he must have kept to himself –
no one remembers his first name.
Or the old Indian hanged in an oak
up the next canyon for killing his white
sidekick who repeatedly beat him.
The odd lot when Visalia was
a long day’s ride around the swamps,
Bald Eagles dotting the tops of Valley Oaks
where the Kaweah spread and hesitated
for centuries, lost its High Sierra steam
and lingered, beckoning the brave.