Cynthia Anderson


Whatever I look at stays with me
long after the looking is over.

Lying in bed, I close my eyes
and see the blackbush I pulled
from the ground this morning.

They came up easily,
brittle wood breaking in my hands,
the pieces added to a growing pile.

The drought has done them in.
They could feed a wildfire,
send flames twenty feet high—
so it’s a matter of clearing.

The way those gray sticks rise
beneath my eyelids, it’s as though
they want to be remembered—

Like ancestors who hold on
because they cannot do otherwise.

Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her award-winning poems have appeared in journals such as Askew, Dark Matter, Apercus Quarterly, Whale Road, Knot Magazine, and Origami Poems Project. She is the author of five collections—”In the Mojave,” “Desert Dweller,” “Mythic Rockscapes,” and “Shared Visions I” and “Shared Visions II.” She frequently collaborates with her husband, photographer Bill Dahl. Cynthia co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens.