Monday, December 26, 2011

winner of 2011 Zumwalt Prarie Poetry contest - Dorian Zimmerman

Below Peaks like White Knuckles

Spring doesn’t come,
it molts,
gray with feathered clouds.

Gusts ruffle skies,
sloughing winter fluff.
White hills now downy
with yarrow—white puffs—
like the dappled flanks of fawns

ripple with invaders,
a Mongol horde
of cheatgrass.

Their tassels
like banners in a limp wind.

Terraced by tenacious hoof,
wounded ridges
beholden to their tenants.
Elk, deer, bighorns,
their white flags wisping
across the vastness—
dandruff from a dandelion’s fat head.

Slopes shorn
by river gossip and the mosaic
of Corriente cattle—
their name, almost “running”
in the native tongue,

their indignant groans, their lowered
brows insinuate
an ensuing battle.
They, like their dueños,
will not flee.

Hard earth
beneath bootsoles—this
land disavows ease.

It has been this way,

Folks here,
like Steelhead smolts,
swimming backwards down-
bent to their origins,
tailfins facing futures.
Dorian Zimmerman 
Thanks to Wallowa County Cultural Trust Coalition for the artist grant fund that provided the honorarium for this contest.