The cottage pulls itself apart at the joints in the heat of the day
settles back into itself at night
high desert wind clatters in the fan palms
fine dust coats the mirrors
In the yard husks of coyote melons
blow into the roots of the brittlebush
small things scurry across the wash
leaving shallow indentations in the sand
lizard, ground squirrel, jack rabbit
burrow under the creosote
beyond, a crust of manzogranite
oceans of baking salt flats
garrulous hunkered down shrubs
with the resilience of rock
a feral landscape of burnt out, boarded up cinder block
half-savage dogs behind chainlink fence
transient human purchase
slippery as sand
the highway lined by salvation—
liquor stores, animal shelters, churches
sun bleached cars drift
from one side of the yellow line to the other
air too dry for ghosts
signs scoured bare of their messages
crouch, bristle, burn
hold tight, bend with the wind
learn to pull yourself apart at the seams with the heat of the day and settle back into your bones under an exhalation of sky.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for the encouragement to dig deep along the way!
Wonderful images – love the one “air too dry for ghosts” in particular. Was this inspired by your recent trip to California?
Thank you! Yes indeed, Karina. The trip to the desert was fascinating – though animals and plants have learned to adapt well to the harsh conditions, humans, it seems really don’t belong there, long term. And yet such a wonderful place to visit!
Nice Post. Caused me to think about all new life around me! >
Thank you! Always appreciate that you take the time to read my blog.
“Air too dry for ghosts”? A wonderful brush stroke … I’ll bet it’s a great place for shooting the stars at night (our local stars are soggy much of the year).
Thanks for your kind words. Truly an amazing place day and night. In our week long stay we watched a full moon sink as the sun rose, so not great star gazing, but I hear it’s beyond compare.
You nailed it.
Very much appreciate your reading and commenting, Roger. All the best with your writing.
Fascinating capture, Melissa. -Curt
Thank you. Glad you liked it, Curt.
Oh, yes. That “transient human purchase…”is certainly something I identify with, and it rings so true.
It’s one of the things I love about the desert – it’s a no-man’s-land. A place where you learn a whole new appreciation for the natural world and its extraordinary persistence. Thank you for reading, Robert! Cheers, Melissa
The resilience of these drought-resistant plants never fails to amaze me! And how I love their spiky beauty!
Your words will be grateful for finding a home. And all of us are simply glad to witness this homecoming 🙂
Such a nice comment! Thank you. I’m always so grateful to have people read and enjoy the words. All my best, Melissa
I liked this a lot. Read thru it several times before I actually read it proper in the couplet I quote below…my eyes kept putting the word “instructions” in place of indentations!!
“small things scurry across the wash
leaving shallow indentations in the sand”
Yay! I love it when people make suggestions. Thanks, Charissa. As you know, a poem is never finished – always a work-in-progress. Happy writing. Melissa
So many remembered desert moments crystallized here… And that lizard shot; wow. I live for those!
Thanks, Sunshine. So nice to hear that. All the best, Melissa
I meant to tell you yesterday that this was a good one, and we got side tracked. I also love the new “cardinal sin” but as it is pouring here, I am off to call Susan (at the gallery) it was raining in the gallery and I worry for the paintings.
AND thanks so much for coming to the gallery. Next reading is June 18th at 230pm and I think we may get a crowd for that, so if you are around for the reading, feel free and bring something to read!
Thanks, Laurie. Sorry to miss your reading – hopefully next week I’ll catch you again. Happy to have your new book of poems to savor. Three in the last 12 months – pretty damn great. Congrats!
Reblogged this on Ripple Poetry and commented:
Just love this Melissa.
My favourite line: “air too dry for ghosts
signs scoured bare of their messages”
Thank you, Pearl. It was amazing to spend time in a landscape that was so alien and yet so fascinating to me.
Yes, I love experiences like that too. Oh how I long to travel. . .