Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative, poem,
spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.
Tonight’s poem is from Nancy Christopherson
Juniper primarily. Those hard, small, purple-
blue rounds. They smell strong, as of juniper,
to me always faintly reminiscent of cat piss.
Wonderful. You will find them out along the
Tonto platform in coyote excreta. Twisted fur,
sometimes matted, sometimes rabbit, but the
berries intact. Occasionally skinned open
with the small whitish seeds exposed. Only
the hardy survive on these staples. Often
just berries. It’s great how they mark the
narrow routes and their territories with these
greetings of scat. Keeps me humble on the long
hauls alone in the wilderness. Where I’ve
always belonged and felt completely at home.
Given the distance, my spoor too has turned
from brown paste into simple small piles
of berries. When you find them, stop and say
hello friend, just passing through.
Nancy Christopherson lives and writes in eastern Oregon. She spent many years living and working in northern Arizona and loves the Desert Southwest. She is the author of one book of poetry, The Leaf. She has work forthcoming in the literary journal XANADU. Her latest manuscripts, tentatively named Canyon Poems, While the Moon Floats Ranch, and Lungfish Swallow Me Whole, are in the works.