To Someone New to the West

Singing in the dark is allowed -

coyotes will tell you,

offering voice to the sky,

sage slopes, and a young girl

out alone for the first time at night.

Together in that instant

are the comings and goings of stars,

animals of light in their underground

burrows, the wild echo of the child's pulse

as it joins a river's rolling.

If you have not found the right place,

come with me to the edge

of the sagebrush and breathe in

its perfume.

When the sun shudders down,

build a small fire

on the banks of Salt River.

It will help stanch the quavering.

From that close radius of light,

think of words that will see out

through the night. Write them down.

The coyotes will answer

any questions.

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