After snowmelt, the earth percolates
shards of glass, flattened, lidless cans,
or, protruding from mud,
the torso of a porcelain doll.
Once in a while, the sharpest among us
spots a Chinese coin or a chert arrowhead.
This spring, I was delighted to find
a rusted sardine can with the key rolled in place.
I spend too much time watching where I walk,
searching for detritus of dead people’s lives.
These bits and pieces end up collecting dust
on a shelf, in a box, on a window sill.
I should be looking skyward,
paying attention to the way
morning light moves across the valley
and gives relief to the mountains.
I should be noticing blue flax tinting the hillsides,
listening for meadowlarks, catching the scent of wild rose.
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .