*There is an unspoken debate between the authors of this publication as to where in fact “the quiet” is specifically located.


Between the water
and the rocks
where we put
our eyes to sleep.

I will tell you
how to get there:
Walk past the signs
and the houses.

Walk and breathe
and think.
Soon your legs
will be trees

and your skin
will be dirt; your
lips will be fish
and your hands

will be holes.
Put them
to your ears.
The quiet is

two steps left
of that shell
where your name
is hiding.


I spent
a few years
like leaves
my prehensile

“This is how
to know God,”
I thought,
but it was just

“I need a
new name,”
I thought,
but it was just


You cannot purchase
You do not have
to sit still.
The quiet is
an approach.
You cannot fail
if you feel.


Language becomes
the prayer.

At the end of a thirteen
billion year journey
God finally decides to
let the tree speak.

“There is a fish
falling from the sky.”

She says, and
then continues:

“Do not trust
the scriptures.
It is not true that
you cannot
fail if you feel.
Sometimes the
feeling of failure
is the greatest
feeling of all.”

The tree ran forwards
making giant stump
footprints in the snow.

“Also contrary
to the scriptures,
it is perfectly possible to
purchase emptiness.

You will spend your
entire life buying
the distance
between you and
the object you desire…
never owning

The fish is still

The tree lit herself
on fire,
smoking ash
rising as she
continued to


|Seneh From the noun סנה (seneh): thorn bush, the name of a sharp ridge in the mountains near Jerusalem| 

Her name was Seneh. She was unruly and blunt. Her wiry hair tangled and clustered into waves. Her curvy round body, like scripture, was warm and inviting from afar. Her smile was like flowers blooming before your eyes, and you can’t help but bloom a little too… just to open up for the sun together. I loved her. 

As two, we explored the depths of all that we could. She knew so much about the land, the plants, the birds, the moon. She taught me about observing. Everyone has flaws and for Seneh, it was her ability to say what she thought. While sometimes cynical, pointed, or sharp, the tips of her words carried bruises and blood. This never bothered me, I yearn for a woman empowered to speak her mind.

Together we traveled the world as we watched desert winds carry dust and storms from west to east. Sometimes we would pull out a hair in offering to the gusts- that way we could leave something behind. We made a life.

We created new life. Watching her womb grow was like changing seasons- delicate, soft, beautiful. Snow melted from her heart and spring grew from her hips with small plants, mushrooms with slippery caps, and critters tramping about softly. Early summer rose like tides, salty and warm that dried our skin and feet. These were the sweetest days, laying together, in our wildest ways, watching the sky change. Everything was calm and gentle. We found fish forms in the clouds that rained refreshing afternoons as the heat started to weigh on us… her body grew, the air did too. Sticky and slow we trudged through our final days together. In birthing anew, her body caught fire, bringing the cry and breath of a powerful force to awaken. A new life with a new name. A daughter.  

Her name is unknown. It means song in some language, somewhere. Her name is lost in the desert where no one can hear her sing…because she is a force untethered. A force to witness only from afar. She bends around the curves of earth and rock where it once held strong and now withers and wears. She whispers secrets of home to the trees and brush, all knowing her soft voice is a risk to the flames of fires and desires that burn. Weaving together the story of place to place, she is unkempt in her ways yet graceful in her song. She is flawed- a traveler but fixed here in this canyon, blasting away the rock as her bare feet kick up dust in rings.

She is our daughter, rampant and wild. She is lovely and lost. Her melody is angelic, floating on the tips of our hearts. Her scream scares even the most fearless of our kind. Traveling farther than belief, in rage in revenge, to repair the losses of a burning bramble, of a mother unmet, carrying the story upon her howl.

So here I am, next to a place where Seneh once flourished, looking at shadows of ash and waiting to hear the footprints of the wind return with no name. 


There should be a name for the wind up here, where Colorado melts into Wyoming, this high, arid, windblown and sometimes lonesome land. I’ve come with Sun God and Prospector up past the canyon to the lip of the Divide, and here we set up our camp, our hodgepodge mixture of flashy nylon and thick denim.  It’s January, the demigods of winter are at work on our souls, and we’re sidestepping life’s daily reality to shiver through the night in double layered sleeping bags. Why do this, camp in the middle of winter? Why not stay by the fire at home and play another game of gin rummy? I look at Sun God and he’s chasing his airborne tent across the meadow. Prospector is hard at work on a fire, having first built a windbreak out of logs and old boards.  I came up here with one goal in mind, and that is to sweat.  To that end I wrap my miniaturized yurt in thick plastic—no easy feat considering the wind—and then cover that with thick cotton canvas.  I’ll heat up fire bricks over the fire, bring them into the yurt, pour water over them and voila!—a makeshift camp sauna. The wind blasts down the ridge line and sort of spits out right on top of us. We would have camped in the trees, where there’s some protection from the relentless ocean of air roiling around us, but two feet of snow hugging the mountain’s base pushes us out into the wind’s pummel. 

Why oh me the wind howls and the lament resonates for humanity this time of year. 

February used to be death month for me. As in, the time of the soul’s dying, before the glorious rebirth and rekindled hope of spring. But lately I’ve been feeling—and I think due to climate change—that January is now death month, and if I can just make it through the rest of this month I will have enough gas in the tank to coast past winter. It’s not like it’s been a particularly cold winter—and this frightens me almost as much as death month in general—but the ongoing drab gray of it leaves little traction for the imagination. Snow is the only color of winter. 

We eat dinner shivering around the fire, the stars popping out in the night sky one by one. I slide three steaming hot firebrick onto a wood plank and motion to the yurt. Sun God piles into the back of the small structure, and Prospector sidles up next to him. I push the wood plank holding the firebrick into the middle of the yurt, and then crawl in myself. With three grown men and the plank of hot firebrick in the middle, it’s a tight fit, but no one seems to mind. The wind wants to push over the small yurt, but eons of Mongolian engineering win out. I pour a small amount of water over the bricks and steam issues out as if from a locomotive. Sun God and Prospector smile as the steam wafts over them. I pour more water over the bricks and steam surrounds the three of us and hides everything from view. We are riding out a terrible winter wind storm in a steam-filled micro-yurt on the edge of the wilderness. Sometimes the bare truth is the wildest thing imaginable.  We sit in the warm steam, listen to the wind try to tear a layer off the known world, and remain mostly silent. I can’t see anything through the steam, not my own hand extended in front of me, nor Sun God or Prospector. After a few water soakings the fire bricks lose their heat, so I shuffle out in the dark for three fresh bricks straight off the fire. I repeat the water soaking and the three of us get lost in the steam once again. 

Sun God, over the throng of the wind, urges us out of the yurt. He wants to inspect the shell of a barn-in-the-making not far from our camp. We stumble out of the yurt into the swirling wind and walk over uneven ground to the barn. We climb onto the first floor and have our private conversations about what it might do someday. It’s like crawling inside a human without skin, muscle, or organs, and shaking the rib cage to see what might come of it. Someone dreamed a vision here, and then grunted and groaned to make the wood timbers start saying barn. 

Prospector is enchanted by the stars, is wrapped up in the fabric of the cosmos in a way not unlike falling in love. He cranes his neck and looks through the unfinished barn shell and tries to take it all in, but it’s impossible—here, at this elevation, and with no lights to be seen other than our dying fire embers, the sky is enormous, grand beyond scale, and filled with so many stars you expect them to start falling out of the sky instantly. Prospector’s eyes gleam with starlight and he keeps mumbling indecipherable names of constellations and methods of wayfinding. 

There is something comforting about being so small in such a vast universe, much like the feeling of being wholly alive brought about by the wind, the cold, the dark and barren landscape, all of which could kill us at any moment, and all of which will outlast each and every one of us. So is there comfort in mortality? In adversity and struggle? We are all trying to become one with the universe, each and every day, through whatever means necessary, no matter how hidden the end might appear.