Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ranch House

Once, there was a rock-strewn slope
Near the foot of a canyon.
Desert tortoises, foxes,
Coyotes, mountain lions,
Rarer human hunters
Crossed, searching for food. It was
Not the beginning, but let’s

Begin there. After many
Centuries roughly the same,
Same seasons, same droughts, same floods,
Plants, animals, and rock slides,
Another kind of humans
Staked out a ranch on the site
For their own domesticates,

Mostly browsing animals,
And then mostly pens of pigs.
Upslope, there were horse paddocks,
With horses tourists could rent
To ride about the canyons
And savor the scenery,
But downslope was the pig farm.

A large slab at the bottom
Served as floor for slaughterhouse.
That ranch, its horses and pigs,
Its slaughterhouse business stayed
A few decades in the same
Family, then got sold off
In parcels for new homes.

One small bungalow was built
On the slab floor of the old
Pig slaughterhouse, long torn down.
In a few decades it was itself
Run down, a rental unit
Inhabited by rangers
Who worked summers in the park.

A local restaurateur
Bought the bungalow dirt cheap
Because of its water rights
And large parcel at the foot
Of the old ranch on the slope.
He rebuilt and expanded
The house, added a guest house,

Put in a lawn, raised a wall,
Then sold it to a couple,
Who sold it to relatives,
Who fixed it up a bit more.
Once, a rare desert tortoise
Was spotted, trapped by the wall,
And transported back up slope.

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