Nevada Sketches

                 I
Roads, straighter than sermons.
Valleys full of bushes
        waiting for prophets.
Gnarled apostles
of immense western solitude
drinking black coffee in empty bars
fumbling over change
and limping out
to graze on the clouds.

                II
I have never seen more stars
         in the sky.
Orion, deer-like, is running
along the mountain range
has pulled his bow tight
has put an arrow through the moon.

The moon is a great fish
gasping for breath
on the valley floor.

The animals have scurried out
to feast on her pale flesh.

The stars are candles at her vigil.

                III
Show me a beauty more desperate
and I'll draw blood from the sagebrush.


Japhet Weeks lives in Berkeley, California. He attended Deep Springs College - a working ranch/college in the Eastern Sierras - before going on to get a B.A. in Africana Studies from Brown University. He has been studying Mandarin for the past six months at UC Berkeley and is headed to Beijing in Spring 2005 to teach English at Beijing Normal University.