County Road 18

By Penel Alden

A piercing cry cuts through the canyon’s stillness

A hawk

Whose aerial circles are seen only in fragments

Elevated above the mountain’s old oaks

You’ve seen their beginning
At first sparse punctuating across the hills
West of the highway
But have you seen their heart
At the center of veins
Dirt marked by the tracks of
Tires and coyotes?

Thick in the ravine trees eager to scrape
Their dancing limbs against
The sun sweet marbled sky

Inaudible is the cry that cuts through the canyon

The curve of my eyes leaned up to the pastel firmament

The vulnerable pink skin under nails

Pointed upwards between sight and sun

My limbs are also dancing


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

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