In this sweet curve of time we fly south,
over the up-lifted earth of the Sierra Nevadas,
gray-green forests brown where fire touched the stretching earth,
catchments of smooth blue water,
patches of snow cast like manna on the peaks.
In the plane, I see the small curl of a baby’s ear,
the slight redness in the fold of fat at the neck
as a young mother pats and rubs the back
of the crying child across her knee.
Clouds form from the gauzy light.
Later, holding the stranger’s baby asleep,
I remember the tough brown crust of bread
hot from the mud brick oven in the Kalahari Desert,
my own son cradled in my arms,
far, far away.