After James Wright

It is bare mournful ground.
The deep roots are gone.
Houses, barns, wagons, hay rakes
sit empty, hushed, bleached by the sun.

Hemlock and hawthorn tangle in fallen fencing.
Thistle chokes the last of the wheatgrass.
Migrant workers and birds have moved on.
Such stillness leaves a heavy presence.

Evidence of another great migration remains,
ruts of the wagon trains are visible,
sometimes a grave, with headstone smoothed
by relentless wind and sand.

Laments and ghosts whorl in my skull
as I walk this wilderness of silence.
Whatever the Sun and Moon may be,
the Earth is a merciless master.