On road trips, no coastal fog rolling in
Brings me the sea gull or sandpiper
shifting from water to sky,
but the common Armenian crane
who treks across the Atlantic,
breaks through California clouds,
haunts the laurels, the eucalyptus,
a message tucked in its beak.
In riffs strummed on midwestern guitars,
I can hear the duduk hound me
with its drone of apricot wood,
piping a monotone dirge, driven
like the tumbleweed. In New Mexico,
each flute player’s eyes turns
into the pomegranate seed.
Going east should bring foliage
but I see the blue eye in trees.
For days, New England’s sediment
drops into riverbeds, bends
into Gorky’s brush strokes.
No relief. Ghosts float west
from Ellis Island, crosses tattooed
on their forearms, worry beads
pebbled in their grip. Even as I watch
the world series, a fly ball
turns back into the crane.
Originally published: Spring 2008