Sunset Diorama

By Steve Gerson

Photo by Robbie Rakestraw

In late August, within

the scrub between Terlingua

and San Vicente, when sunset

stroked the Chisos oak-like

guitar notes, each leaf flutter

glimmering as weak

starshine in gray dusk,

I’d hold Dad’s hand

as we walked the land,

our feet marking progress

like notes on a staff,

his step bass to my treble,

and he’d hum Vince Gill’s

“Go rest high on that mountain”

in the deep rumble of thunder or quote

Shakespeare. He’d stop and wipe

his brow with a stained chambray sleeve,

torn from his brush against a prickly pear.

He looked left at a herd of heifers,

as skittish as javelinas, cows

staring like a Greek chorus, their mournful

lowing a soundtrack to his soliloquy.

I saw his amber eyes go pale as Yucca flowers.

Our world was a stage along Boot Canyon,

his exit cachectic, he as fragile

as the rock nettle at our feet

drying into airlessness

in the summer heat.

Steve Gerson, proud native Texan, writes poetry and flash about life's dissonance and dynamism. He's proud to have published in Panoplyzine, Route 7, Poets Reading the News, Crack the Spine, Decadent Review, Underwood Press, Dillydoun Review, In Parentheses, Vermillion, and more. Check out his chapbook Once Planed Straight: Poetry of the Prairies from Spartan Press.