The ore lies deep, deep
inside the earth, beneath shrubs,
beneath rocks, beneath roots,
beneath the light that passes daily
over manzanita and scrub oak
and reflects on a slow flowing creek.

Flycatcher, towhee, sparrow and hawk
that grub in the earth and circle
and nest in boughs
through which moonlight falls
when summer nights are still
will no longer find the place
they knew before machines arrived

for drawing out the copper
to be bullets, handrails, faucets
and wire, and sometimes be beaten
thin as leaves on the trees
dying above it. There’s a future
whose price is the range
where the ocelot lives,

and woodpecker, thrasher,
phoebe and wren
appear, disappear,
and come back again
until grasses are dry
and the land is a hollow

while money grows down in the dark.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.