Liz N. Clift

Here, clonal colony of aspen yellows Utah,

standing united, heaviest

living organism, sending up new trunks

in galleries of sunshine

when old occupiers die.

We picnic on Delano's Peak

baby blue we can't afford,

spread on bread made with Montana wheat.

We're here because of ashes

and a '95 Chrysler Concorde,

because we didn't cross the salt flats

because there'd already been too many tears,

because chaos before us,

lead to me and to you, because we

don't believe in maps

that crisscross artificial veins

across this country as though big swathes

of nothing actually exist.

Maybe aspen quake in mourning,

because the entire colony knows

when one tree dies.

You pack cheese back into cooler,

then talk fractals and frost, tracing patterns

on my palm. I study lonely firs, green stamps

against yellow, surrounded

by something like family.

Liz N. Clift's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, Crab Creek Review, White Whale Review, and others. She lives in Oregon and hikes, as often as possible, with her long-legged mutt. Among other things, she is working on a photojournalism series of vineyards and wineries.

  fiction    poetry    "fact"    photography
masthead      guidelines