The 2River View 28.1 (Fall 2023)

Tim Hunt

Still Life: Barbed Wire with Tumbleweeds (Owens Valley, California)

There was
water here, once:

orchards and farms,
the Sierras rising off to the east.

Before the lake was drained
to flush the toilets in L.A.

That feat of engineering!

And the farms dried up
and the orchards failed,

and most of the people moved on.

That is the way of things,
here in the west:

a momentary boom
that fails

and most of the people moving on—

a few,
left behind:

tumbleweeds snagged in a fence
rocking in the wind

against the strands of barbed wire.

Silver Mine (Tonopah, Nevada)

The twisting dark
of the mined seam—

receding down
into the hillside:

a vacancy left
by the tons of blasted ore,

pick-axed and shoveled,
hauled out

and smelted into ingots—
silver chains and inlaid

teeth, wealth.
Someone’s. Somewhere


Here, the dark seam—
an absence twisting


as if the ore
had never been,

and the men

who worked the seam
had never been.

As if this silence

had always been.
Tim Hunt is the author of, among others, Voice to Voice in the Dark (Broadstone Books) and Ticket Stubs & Liner Notes (winner of the 2018 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award). Originally from northern California, he and his wife Susan live in Normal, Illinois. (website)
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