The Christmas lights seem increasingly desperate
This time of year in their struggle against darkness,
Blinking red and green, blue and white
Trying to push back the Winter Solstice
With an hysterical flurry of electric
Bulbs. For all the talk about stars
And baby Jesus, it seems more like a frantic
Fear of the dark. God’s stars have disappeared
Into the man-made glare of the city
Only Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter
Mimic stars in the depleted sky.
You’d never guess the Pleiades were there
Or that one long arm of our spiral galaxy
Wraps around us as the Milky Way.
“The only good place for a sage grouse to be listed is on the menu of a French bistro.” — Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3)
“It’s disappointing that some Members of Congress are more interested in political posturing than finding solutions to conserve the sagebrush landscape and the Western way of life.” — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
The road stretches
Before us, black asphalt
Into a perspective arrow
Pointing out immensity,
Red cliffs slash the horizon
The Sagebrush Sea around us
Ebbs and flows, silver-grey
Shrubs surge in leafy tides.
At a curve in the road
A yellow diamond caution
Alerts us to their presence—
By shadow sage grouse
Their spiked tail feathers
Rays of light emanating
From the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Roosters fan and strut,
Puff out yellow air sacs,
Sing like percolating coffee,
Pop like champagne corks.
A puff of dust
Sprouts chicken feet,
Two grey hens
Bob their heads, brooding
In clucking consultation,
Should they cross the road?
Amy Brunvand is a librarian, writer, and part-time nature mystic from Salt Lake City, Utah. She agrees with Edward Abbey that the environmental movement needs more poets and fewer lawyers (even though some of her best friends are lawyers).
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