Wild Patch Prowlers

It’s a trespass, I know, to be here
on this bland lot of land, the plot
now privately owned and overgrown—
madrone, blood-barked manzanita,
scrub oak, gophers, grasshoppers, grubs,
and there’s that cake-pan pit. Nearby
a couple of scruffy-pup boys
eye jays and toy with ways to catch
the scraggly-throated scrappers
or the quail. Hiding in the brush,
I watch them go about their ways
in their simply-there place, a given
at that age when so engaged by nature,
as well as by manmade inventions—apart
from intentions, the pollen-yellow
is deceptive, a child’s color for sunshine,
yet backhoe and bulldozer inspire awe
despite foreshadows curled like wire
fence still wound at one corner of this
small piece of natural ground.
Whatever structures are bound to erase
this place, how could someone else’s
weight on this earth ever be worth
as much as one unplanned chase
of a blue-bellied lizard or sunning snake
taken by surprise? Or the quiet habit
of growing up embraced by open space?

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s poetry has appeared in Aji Magazine, Terrain.org, Concho River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and others, with work forthcoming in the anthology Talking Back and Looking Forward: Poetry and Prose for Social Justice in Education. A past Pushcart Prize nominee, she is co-founder of Native West Press.