After vacation

A congregation of cattle

gossip in the pasture

their brown eyes unblinking

as I pause along the gravel road.

The meadow sways

with scrappy wildflowers.

Cottonwood trees stand

like fathers, keeping watch

over a thin, rock-bottomed stream.

Last week, in land piled

higher than sky, in canyons

that drenched me with laughing water,

I stood, drinking the sparkling air,

held safely by the cupped palm of rugged peaks.

Still, the mountains cannot call

me home, cannot claim to own me,

cannot embrace me

like the prairie's open hand.

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