early one day
I was walking with the sun and sky
down by Mission Beach, San Diego harbor

we watched
Cahuilla sailors join the navy
trading one desert for another

Mixtec men, with iron in hand
helping to build a replica
of Cabrillo the explorer’s flagship
the San Salvador

modern steel warships
rose through shadows
to stand tall as kings
cold as tidal spray

when the gray fog gave way
to a red sky in the morning
and Támit, the sun, joined us
peeking over the eastern hills

we spied one Cahuilla sailor
who knew his proverbs
sneaking off a warship
stealing away from his post
sprinting across the shoreline
until he disappeared from sight

maybe to warmer sands in Mexico
maybe to tequila in Tijuana
maybe to more familiar deserts

then the rabbits and the deer
heeding the red sky warning
fled for the hills
before the dogs came barking

we saw a lot of strange things
the sky, the sun, and I
as we walked Mission Beach one day
none of us could say for sure
if that Cahuilla sailor made it
or just what it all meant

(December 21, 2013)