Death Valley

Swimming in their own
Warm pools

Shoshone poisoned
Left but salt

91% of the wetlands
Stolen and what’s left
Chalky rocks

Alluvial fans
They’ve built a museum
To deceit

The earth
Like unbalanced laundry

Rocky detritus
With aprons on
Avoiding news

That isn’t poetry
The flood rolls its debris
Onto the floor

Like gift wrapping
You are
Standing on the story


Morning fog, my leavened
birds, what’s credential

for you and certainty
for her? I am smaller

than I feel. Laws of lips, laws
of hair, laws of where, and

where are the immutable
laws of legs and arms?

Let the story smolder
till the earth is spherical.

To speak of love
that hardened and left,

a plea,
oppressed, a sea of

authoritarian lack. What
will stack dominion

on adam and eve?
The sea is a garden and

the earth made of feelings.

Christopher Sindt's poetry has apeared recently in noctures, Pool, Swerve, and Xantippe. He has received the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Mesa Refuge, and the Blue Mountain Center. He directed the MFA Program in Creative Writing from 2000-2007 and is currently Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts.