I walk over train ties

searching for drops of water,

like the rains I’ve loved, negotiating

tumbleweeds where the train runs

regardless of how many rocks lie on the ties.

Farms, silos, industry with steam rising

from the table of land, I watch passively

as workers drain a swamp, plant rice,

and fill it again.

Scale of the wounds

call it forgiveness

call it dread

this pilgrimage.

Call it jasmine.

Call it an address.

Open space, even dry trees

at the mountain’s base–

they too suffer their own mirror.

Call it eyelashes, moist

with their own nick names.

Plumes of smoke make their own

weather in the shape of

a cross or is it a figure

with head and arms

or a rocket

raising itself above the cloud shelf.

Laurel Benjamin

Laurel Benjamin is a San Francisco Bay Area native, where she invented a secret language with her brother. She has work forthcoming or published in Lily Poetry Review, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, One Art, Ekphrastic Review, Wordpeace, The Thieving Magpie, Black Fox, Hare’s Paw, California Quarterly, Mac Queens Quinterly, among others. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers, she holds an MFA from Mills College. She is a reader for Common Ground Review. Find her blog at https://thebadgerpress.blogspot.com.  Find her at Twitter at @lbencleo. Find her on Instragram at cleobenjami.

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