A Desert Winter Suite I It’s warm in the winter sun that touches down on the dry grass in the park, growing quietly through whatever comes, whoever walks or sits there while the mountain watches with nothing else to fill its time but being still and bearing the weight of light that passes over it. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday; the week holds its breath but it’s still a working day for the sky. So much for it to do, and the night to come, when it hangs from a star: canvas with a black silk lining. II A hawk sways back and forth in a cradle of wind, his tail above houses, while his eye already sees the desert with its thirst. A grey light showers from the sky today, catches in the needles on saguaro, and scraps of it are carried away in a Rock Wren’s beak. The air is the color of rain, but none falls. Cloud for cloud the hours cross the mountain in shades of dry, until the longest night begins with Jupiter and Saturn embedded in the velvet sky. III A scene remembered floats through starlight; it’s midnight past and present with the owl’s dark calls woven into woodsmoke. IV The city’s lights reflecting from the far side of South Mountain are the late night hum from distant traffic turning orange in the dark and the air is dragon’s breath. Bees are sleeping in a hollowed space in a wall in the wash where a sandy trail runs between rocks and rocks and javelina rumble down the slopes, bristle-backed in moonlight, into streets that lie at rest. Coyotes make their nightly rounds from park to pond and cul-de-sac, while above them, stars are loose change in the sky. V The street’s a secret passage here to there, and never ends; it runs in its own time guided by the streetlamps and doesn’t stop to ask the way. The owl knows where it leads, brushes some dust from the dark with a wing and its two repeated notes buff against the bone-light from the moon.
David Chorlton lives in Phoenix, close to a large desert mountain city park from which various creatures visit after sundown! He has published several books and performed poetry on occasion with his recently deceased wife, a violinist who brought out extra dimensions in the work with her music.
I used to live in Phoenix. This vivid poem brought back many memories of my years there. Jeanne Shannon Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Just wow – stars as ‘loose change in the sky’!