Standing Outside I Remember a Line from Charles Wright
Mid-July in the Sonoran Desert
From the concrete bridge,
a view north to Daisy Mountain,
dun-colored, a crooked triangle.
And in the south, dust
gathers its discontent.
We are deep in the monsoon season
when, in the parched parlance
of the desert, a storm’s prefix
A handful of dust is a handful of dust
no matter who holds it.
The east valley from Ahwatukee
and Queen Creek to Carefree and
as far away as the Tonto Basin
braces for what’s to come.
The afternoon air fidgets,
unappeased and impatient,
and, suddenly, before one of our
summer thunderstorms, gusts of wind
lift loose dirt from the arid land
and build walls of dust and debris.
It’s hard to imagine the height and length
— almost absurd in its drawn-out
deletion of all forms, everything
covered-over to a camel brown.
Then a hard rain
with distant snarls
and snaps like a bad-tempered pit bull
barking at something we can’t see.
A Winter Prayer from the Desert
Almighty Lord of All Seasons,
you see me, though I sleep
under a trio of pastel blankets,
microfiber booties on my feet
and a time-worn, white t-shirt
under a long, flowery nightgown.
Lying on my side, my knees bend
as if hunching in supplication.
I’ve come, of my own accord,
to this desert to steer clear of
shoveling snow — and its heart
attack. I thought I’d forsaken
winter, withdrawn from skies
gray as February in Fargo.
But the night wind whips up
grapefruit tree branches to buffet
my bedroom window and
sound like the slender claws
of roof rats scampering,
above, in the sheltering attic.
I’ve come to this desert, a seeker,
knowing that the only prayer
for patience is patience
while the warm relief of Spring
seems as remote as the cold,
cold heart of a dying star.
This chill will defeat me.
Have mercy: send warmth.