Kenneth Fries

Steam

Dawn we rambled out to look for raptors;
just my grandson James and me, woolen socks,
winter hats, walking up Snake River Gorge.
James led me on the trail, binoculars
around his neck, bird book firm in his hand.
Hawks and falcons circled black volcanic
cliffs; mice and rabbits hid in perfumed sage,
chaparral; dry-brown reeds and grasses climbed
the riverbank; small birds perched and sang.
James turned, spied white steam rising from a pile
of rocks, venting from the deep. Scent of sul-
fur in our noses, strange warmth on our hands.
We would have missed it on a summer day.

Author Portrait

Kenneth Fries lives in Chico with wife Janet, Persian cat (Captain Jack), golden retriever (Eddy), and Newfoundland pup (Gentle Annie). He obtained academic degrees in history (Stanford), law (UC Berkeley), and comparative law (U of Chicago).  Ken retired from work as a lawyer with federal trade and development agencies, but continues occasional consulting and training on development projects in Africa. His poetry is inspired by travel to interesting places, time for reflection, and encouragement of teachers, friends, and other writers, in particular Rod Jellema at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD.