The sequoia stands so stately
that all humans ooh and ahh.
They have not seen the sun lately.
Above, birds hoot and caw,
knowing not where to find water.
Creatures cradled in her crown
can attest the climate hotter.
In ashes, most fall down.
Except she, who is too thick
to catch colds – let alone fire.
Her hardy bark, red as brick,
seems to announce something dire,
like: “If you don’t see me soon,
better send a search party,
or a rocket to the moon.”
Now, Sequoia, don’t have me croon.
For Kelsey Hoffman
“from the ship’s island,”
which is the one, let’s say,
that draws people in,
like the eyes of a lady,
with their fine lines
and fine-tuned vision,
which some people call
experience; that tames
wanderlust, in women,
especially, by just asking:
“Would you like to moor?”
straightforward and sure,
so unlike their main men
from the mainlaind,
who take perpetual availability
for permission to go
She is tiller of victory gardens,
where grow autonomy
for her people,
who are all people,
and also vegetables
like: red peppers,
blue hubbard squash,
or whatever color,
Shilo belongs to a protected category of person,
the kind that must be managed so as to preserve
its natural condition, to appear unaffected by the
forces of nature, and the imprint of man’s work,
afforded at least five thousand acres for solitude.
At first brush, it seemed probable we’d be lovers.
She had me feeling all-American and free, shout-
singing: “Girl, this land was made for you n’ me”
and all other beasts of the Northern Nevada wild,
where the desert is high and dry and exposed, not
so low and wet and closed as where I come from.
“What brings you here, to these parts?” should be
easy — a basic exchange of creative nonfiction —
and I’ve heard that it gets better, but when you’re
queer and a woman probes for your preference of
parts, it’s imperative to leave the door open some,
So you say something like “Where I come from is
called the River Valley, green and fertile and deep,
with mountains on both sides, thrusting up toward
the sky. Your land has dimples and mounds in all
the right-familiar places; it reminds me of home.”
Shilo showed me the Playa in June, before Burners
came to boogie and burn, and we scribbled crayon-
portraits of each other, our busts against a backdrop
that could have passed for the surface of the moon.
She drew me in — in an extraterrestrial style — soft
-shelled egg of a head, floating on a band of gold
dust that was literally black (as her tip of charcoal)
but, for better symbolism, I remember in gold.