Below El Capitan


Between two rocks,
the river Merced steeps,
brown sediment
running clear.
Mountain heat stifles
pine-washed breezes,
ripples caress boulders,
stark rocks untouched
bar surface scratches,
skin deep sun burn.
Ochre sandstone
drips red to black;
pine leaves fringe
before marbled slabs
to soften fissures.
Life, motion in play:
a deer wades across,
back to the crowds;
bluejays scavenge,
mallards hover,
orange-tipped butterfly
poses on a sandy crest,
spins in cloudless blue.