Cathryn Shea is the author of three poetry chapbooks, most recently “It’s Raining Lullabies” (Dancing Girl Press, 2017) and the micro chapbook “My Heart is a Salt Mirror Like Salar de Uyuni” (Rinky Dink Press, 2018). Her poetry has been nominated for Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net 2017 and recently appears in Tar River Poetry, Gargoyle, Permafrost, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. She resides in Fairfax, California. See http://www.cathrynshea.com and @cathy_shea on Twitter.
Surrounded at Pyramid Lake
Ghost horse mad-galloping in greasewood,
Eugene Angel’s soul escapes a petrified pillar of salt,
ascends the eroded cliffs above the Truckee.
Painted Paiute kicked his bones off their sacred tufa.
This is where sun-poisoned miners
drunk on whiskey and lack of sleep
raped two Paiute girls
igniting the Battle of Pyramid Lake.
A century after hordes of Comstock miners died out,
here come tech people on their way
to Burning Man, bare except for boots crushing
calcifications around sulfurous hot springs.
I smeared my breasts with clay
from the shore of this lake,
hair snagged in the zipper of my cutoffs.
I got hauled in for indecent exposure.
(Except no one, save my ex, saw me).
A one-armed judge dropped the charges in Reno.
The spook gelding haunts my dreams
with sympathetic pain.
(Eugene Angel was killed in the Battle of Pyramid Lake in 1860.)