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This poem is taken from PN Review 122, Volume 24 Number 6, July - August 1998.

Four Poems Chris McCully

Death Valley

'We heard of the bank vaults, the breakable acres,
the impossible strikes and charms,'
said the mouths as they sucked at the future.
But the sand-devils hissed back 'Harms'.

'Where are the fabulous gravels, the silvers,
the ores to braze into gold?'
cried the voices in the salt of the desert.
And the mountains echoed 'Old'.

'Where are wild horses, and endless whiskey,
and burros with panniers to fill?'
asked need through its stained bandannas.
And the burnt stone whispered 'Ill'.

'Here's the dynamite. Here's the blue vein.
Here are the tracks of my friends,'
said the hand in his heyday to the water-jar
...


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