On a little rise outside Cortez
Lee shows me a cleft in a cedar
no wider than a pencil, smelling
like a pencil. I nestle an ear
into the weathered peel
hear the crowded station thrum
and fainter, a train chuffing down the river
on the trail of its echo
and fainter, the singing of hammers
in a country that keeps
only the song of the worker
alive, as though artifact proved
sympathy, the hush of white shoes
crowded in a kiva. A sound you might catch
in a casino, beyond the frantic empty music
of something being built and lost
by hand, hauling heavy buckets of silver
from one bright promise to the next.