Three Days In the Desert Before a Bath

I should photograph you,
sitting in the cocoa-colored
shallows of the cow pond known
on the Metzger Map of Harney
County, Southern Half, as Guano
Slough --- you, settled in silt,
your clothing strewn about
the cow-pocked slough bottom
where legions of buttercups
bivouac after the spring
runoff retreats --- but I too
have waited days in the heat
of desert pursuits, grasses
and wildflowers and fossil bones,
water spilling, mirage upon
mirage, through dry channels
etched on my brain; and so
the camera stays in its case,
its eye unmindful of the play
of light on the porcelain cups
of your unbridled breasts
as I wade in, filling albums
with photos of you, splashing
between blinks of my eyes.

[First published in Calapooya Collage. Reprinted in Steens Mountain Sunrise: Poems of the Northern Great Basin]