He had left home, left the green of his own country
to wander across the sun-bleached West,
the dry flat roads of the plains,
and the dark rugged mountains.
But no matter where he traveled,
stranger though he was,
he was never at a loss for words, for he needed none.
The music of his fiddle spoke for him,
and it was welcomed wherever he went.
Doors opened at its sound,
a place was made by a campfire,
and food and drink appeared.
it was a free life.
There it was again—a sharp shrill call.
A bark, he guessed, imagining the coyotes
No, he thought, uncertain now
as the wind brought the sound closer.
Not a bark, but the harsh cawing of crows,
their raucous voices rising from the canyon.
The whistled wind was hushed beneath their loud cries,
and the crickets were silent between the rocks.
into the swirling clouds,
they gave themselves over to flight.
He held his hand over his face
to protect it from the seething dust,
glimpsing in the turquoise sky
the black veins of their parting.
And then the winds quieted,
the dust was exhaled back to the earth,
and the sky shone clear again.
the sound of him playing the fiddle
percolated the air, calming his nerves.
Revised from this.