Skip to content

Leath Tonino

As a writer, as a human being, I like to find a place out there in the big world and just sit, listen, pay attention. I like to return to this particular place again and again: at dawn in the rain, at dusk in fading light.  Building a relationship is the goal. 

Pursuing this practice in the Centennial Valley was special.  Few humans.  Few distractions.  When a short-eared owl winged past my head, well, I felt the air around me move.  

The dozens of poems I scribbled as an artist-in-residence are just a document of encounter, that's all.  Stack up enough encounters and, eventually, you arrive at the relationship.  Enough said.



Sunday, the land’s day, the land’s day to rest,
to create, to create and to rest.

Dawn with rails unseen but heard in marsh rushes.
Wrens walking green arcs of tall bent marsh grasses. 

Marsh left, marsh right, marsh everywhere
beneath August smoke-sky. 

Fires outside this inside, broad valley,
haze our only reminder of outside’s existence. 

Wander the creek’s meander, the coyote chorus,
the hours. Sit a bit. Stand and walk again. 

Back at the cabin, those hours give way to a second
pot of coffee, noon the question. What next? To do?

Chair on aspen-shaded deck, read a book cover to cover.
Take a breath, take a piss. Start another on page one. 

Moose are somewhere doing something, probably
browsing whatever’s easy, available, near-to-mouth. 

Good style. Me too. Dusk coming and the wind shifting,
clearing a blue path for a white cloud, sweeping the above-of-here

as a monk sweeps the temple courtyard, the outhouse floor.
August smoke-sky becoming August stars, beginning of the end

of day. Yes, me too. Make a meal of this. Whatever’s easy,
near-to-mouth. A glass of whiskey, maybe.

Leath Tonino

Last Updated: 7/1/21