A congregation of cattle
gossip in the pasture
their brown eyes unblinking
as I pause along the gravel road.
The meadow sways
with scrappy wildflowers.
Cottonwood trees stand
like fathers, keeping watch
over a thin, rock-bottomed stream.
Last week, in land piled
higher than sky, in canyons
that drenched me with laughing water,
I stood, drinking the sparkling air,
held safely by the cupped palm of rugged peaks.
Still, the mountains cannot call
me home, cannot claim to own me,
cannot embrace me
like the prairie's open hand.