For Richard Hugo
You are all bravado and machismo,
searing landscape of parched dust
that no small town whiskey can slake.
You pray not, but I hear your confession; I do
not absolve you for having darkened
the Mission Range and filled the creek
with slime, all for a splash of red
against unrelenting gray.
You pulled no punches, you gave stone after
stone after stone, banging them against
one another hard enough to crack,
but you never caught fire.
Richard, where are your girls?
The way you allude, I fear for them,
the ones you say should have been kinder.
And the lady in the reservoir, is she still
kicking, kicking in your dreams?
I wish you would take me
to the reservoir, disappear me
with your arms, pin me under
with your battered hands
leave me breathless at the bottom
of the spillway.