Mojave Phoenix (For Sylvia)


Desert flower rocks

You can be happy
or you can be right
my sister told me
about wanting to win
one dark night
A housewife mantra
to get though the day

But later
after the deaths
and the poisons
and my outrage
her mantra washed over me
like the Mojave

You have to respect 
anything
that survives 
in the desert
my father told me

The searing white sky of noon
flashed light milky blue
Like Lazarus winking
The old one-eyed cat
who stared at me
from under the house
and who’ll survive us all

The mountain range
dry and still
as a rusty dustbowl handsaw
left behind on the horizon
to orient the Van Nuys pilots
who buzz by
racing their small gasoline
lawnmowers of the sky

The wind 
scatters my old scales
over scorched earth
little parts of me

flaked off, blown about
this no mans land
Lot’s wife awakening
Flakes of stone

flakes of gold

flakes of silver
baked off
brushed off
scrubbed off
raw new skin exposed

underneath the cracked sage
and bleached pavement
gathering dew
from cool spots and quiet shelters

When the purple evening finally comes
the crickets under the sage and chaparral
tune up in their ancient amour
and they start to sing to me.

 

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