Karla Linn Merrifield
The Missing Force at 360 N Latitude, 1070 57’ 30” Longitude
Published in the poet’s Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink, 2013)
With the sun in its summer house,
afternoon winds beat
the sand’s message of heat.
Clouds assemble to drum
thunderstorms. But no rains come.
Where snake should swallow lizard,
eagle swallow snake,
time swallowed whole
the golden bird and its people
because no rains came.
The magnitude of their loss
is the magnitude of their epic
ancient civilization brought
asunder by all the erosional
forces you can name, except one.
When no rains came after
solstice morning upon solstice morning
of endless draught, the wind, worse
than any desert wind they ever witnessed,
a life-abrading wind, roared and roared
And gravity toppled the Anasazi
gods from atop their canyon temples.
Great edifices of sandstone
and great walls of rock and mortar
baked and frozen for eons,
tumbled into ruins—
Chaco without the force
Chaco becoming a message
of the dust.
Karla Linn Merrifield has had some 400 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has ten books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing). Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. Her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (www.centrifugaleye.com). Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at karlalinn.blogspot.com.