I watched a green-haired sloth
smoking on the porch
near the town limit sign with the cross.
Now climbing the ladder,
I ache to see the old west
before the gold rush
and before you grew so tall.
Away from summer, I should hum
the tune from my childhood zither
all red and flowered and much missed.
How did it go? Was it as fresh
as the breeze we drew our kites
up inside, funneling child laughs
and rhymes of sky castles
or did the wind that brought us here
sound of thunderous applause
for having made the journey to this valley?
I watched roads widen into
fields into oceans into planets
while the sloth smoked, tapping
the penny against the table.
If I had my zither, I would pluck
more than my flying dreams and sing
to you of rattlesnake waltzes.
This is good, remembering warmth
of old suns over young bones
as we grow longer in thought
and shrink in space.
I am an explorer hidden inside a mother
inside an afternoon of breaking skies
and beds of wild grasses.