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An Ancient Cycad on the Headland

eir to the Triassic mass extinction
older than the ginkgo or the redwood

it cleaves to the space that is its circumstance
radiates its silhouette into the air.

Not a tendriled vine or frenzied weed
it waits for those who leave their comforts at the wharf

and stands for all who

stay true to places they are from
remain outside the window absent the refinement to come in
attend enduringly to weather and the tides to better know the sea below.


One of the seven summits
sister to the “Head of Sky”

she masquerades
as just another mountain

hides within a crowd
of peaks so new their ribs

still wear the skins of
glaciers and scars of gravel

crushed from the crust of earth
during the Andean upheaval.

But many who mistake her
for one that can be challenged

lie in a cemetery by the road
facing their defeat and the arrested

waters of the Mendoza River
diverted into troughs below that feed

Mendoza’s crops and commons. There,
beside the soapbark and the chaste trees

Josephina, her quiet mother,
and the boy who growls

wait for the knifeman to blow
his flute and call them to the street.

When he does they carry
shears and blades to him.

He pedals at his grindstone till
all the edges smirk their dangerous grins.