wind across the wire

when leaders say we'll cleanse the world with fire
and jingo prophets teach democracy
I walk far out of town once more

squeeze between some rusty strands of old barbed wire
and hike beyond the  no trespassing signs
that guard an ancient snow-quiet hill
just to see young trees: aspen, birch
who owns this place?      no one
seems to know or care—that's why I'm here
                        little springs pulse and feed
                                the earth
                        trickle over limestone fossil rocks

                        at wood's edge an old log tobacco barn


                                jumps out

                        door storm-weathered creaks on one hinge
                                    I poke my head inside
                                                    smells of musty dark
                                                                pungent            empty


                        instantly quail thunder from a rafter in that void
                                                    flushing out the door
                                        {no one would expect them roosting here}

                        dissolving far away in snowy fields
                                                    a covey of feathered comets, almost twenty
                                                                    whicker through me
                                                    their wingbeat laughter
                                                                                an apocalypse

                        quick        pulse the springs

                                listen        gentle quail boom

                                            through windblown fields

                                                        lighter  lighter than the snow


                        bob-white    bob-white    bob-bob-white


—Cyrus Campen, Wausau, WI