The dawn sky turns salmon. Down by the stream, the hollow cough of a deer. A swig of coffee and I’m off to count birds before the rain.


  1. Gulf Coast Dawn

    Dawn turns a salmon thigh
    as light rushes through a turquoise sky
    a swig of vodka could make her cry
    back before the roll.

    Rose fingers what she knows
    of elderly boys beneath their clothes
    before the boredom comes to blows
    and she has to count the toll.

    (Yuck, am I channeling the teenage TS Eliot?)


    Strange how sounds start a day:
    one sees a salmon sky, hears a doe
    cough, and I am sure the gulped
    swig of coffee triggers a gargled rush
    to talk to the birds before rain drowns
    their canticles, before the staccato
    of raindrops on the porch roof
    could transform all these dawn
    sounds into a flat diminuendo
    that could drone on until sundown.

    But for these dawns, I know I cannot
    invest any more time to understand
    how this grandeur could lull souls
    into reverential stupor while somewhere
    else across the valley some sky is crimson,
    a doe is charred venison, and warblers
    fall one by quivering one into the forest
    fire flinted by campers in dry Arizona.

    O, that I could hold this heart ransom
    for the truest and deepest things we wake
    up for on mornings we’d wish we had not
    risen to meet the same cold faces that we meet,
    when the dying of sounds end a dry dead day!

    —Albert B. Casuga

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