restricted access Looking Back over San Marcos Pass
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32 Looking Back over San Marcos Pass Each time I leave, the magpies scoot aside. They’re always there, patrolling in the drive, As business-like as judges, black and white. This may well be the most alone I’ve felt, The most engulfed in nothing (but a view). A universe as stunning as this gorge, As deep and silent, opens up between us. The highway climbs, and I look back to see The drought-exposed terrain of Lake Cachuma’s Palomino shore.That’s when I drop Into the straightaway where last September I flew past squadrons of tarantulas Roadside at dusk like pirates making land; And, once, a squandered heap of gunny sacks Turned out to be the body of a puma. But now the air is pitched with bats, and though The humpback moon is flanking me, reflecting A landscape full of blunders and intrusions, I’m comforted by how you offered me Some serpentine you picked up from the ground —Unyielding, thaw-proof stone—and how I pressed It, earth-cool in my palm, and made it warm. ...

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