Adam King, “Lamp Bright Draw”

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Lamp Bright Draw

Near an airstrip some miles from
the dry wash where yucca, cat’s claw, and sage
survive, I waited for the little plane
to take me to meet my sister in the city of our youth:
Albuquerque, place of the white oak.

In each direction, lightning struck within
scattered blue-gray veils.
Clouds, paralyzing white with flat charcoal undersides.
The pale pink-and-gold glow of the mine
at sundown. Otherwise, a wildly indigo sky
above the Floritas, distant Organ Mountains,
and pyramid-like peaks way south, in Mexico.

In the center of these, a poem tried
if only to be given its title, overture
of an unbending image:
a bearded man,
his pewter lantern burning low,
had dug in the pits until nightfall.
They poisoned the water,
and he sought a pure source.
It could have been he
who found and named this one.

If I could hear desert mice drawing breath in the dark,
if I could accept the miscreant, the upstart, the bastardly
in myself, if I could work the molten metal of my mind,
I’d place a finger on the lips of the dead,
see this draw running with water,
moonlight upon it, and silver on my hair.


Adam King lives in Silver City, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of H. D.


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