Hiking the Cottonwood to Indian Point Before 8:00 A.M.

Before the young coyotes crawl

from their dens to steal the sun, I

slide from mine to capture

the air. Putting my heel forward, I

imagine myself a buzzing insect

waltzing around the trees,

and I rise above

the furious

rocks and twigs

that lie beneath

my sole. I taste the leaf

and river as bitter

as earth, blades of grass

inject my arteries with

sound. And when the morning becomes

directed by the

hour hand, I wash

my legs in a steel

wool prairie, open by the river,

and attempt to hold

one last moment on the trail,

before the hunters, with strong

hindquarters, replace my footprints

with their restless

tracks made

with spokes

and wheel.

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