by Marilyn Westfall

Cow-dull from heat, I lift
my head and stare. Wayward
gulls ride thermals. Wind bends
the prairie grass, parches my eyes.
No trees, no shade atop the mesa,
I scramble down steep embankment
of gypsum, cactus, Indian blanket.
Between my toes, the ocher clay
oozes. When at last my feet
sink into silt, churned waves
lap with foam as white as faded
daisies. Outboards thunder, hauling
skiers, but I wade into their wake
that stings my fleshy calves,
scorched by sun. I’ll burn,
redden like the dirt. I lower thighs,
buttocks, breasts, and shoulders
into the man-made lake, then float,

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