Elisha Holt


There is no immediacy.

The blood courses
in the cartilage of your ear.

Listen to the breath
of the prickly pear
the scent of its red
fruit. Listen
with the eyes of your tongue.

Snake scales undulate against sand.
Primrose, essence of serpentine.


Place a pebble within the mark of each fang.
Suck the heat in through your pores.
Stare directly into the sun.

Become a Mountain

of lizard bones
grinding itself into sand
the sockets of your
eyes blacken with ants
a dry wash
an expanse of vultures hopping
a carrion dance
your skull crawls to feathers
your hair rootless winds
into strands of a recluse’s web
braids into the nests of cliff swallows
a framework for mud and bird
saliva bones
each cell of your skin crumbling sprouts
tufts of crucifixion thorn
(a forest of crucifixion thorn)
your meat in the eye-glint of 10,000 coyotes
your sap flows into the blood of mesquite
your nectar moonflowers in the bellies of wasps
the saguaro is peeling back from its bones
the desert is
each crystal nerve of your spine
aware of its place
buffeting in the dust storm

Elisha Holt is a second year poet in Cal State University, San Bernardino’s MFA in Creative Writing program. He is a former farm hand, apiarist, forklift driver, dishwasher, and juvenile delinquent. His work has appeared in Apercus Quarterly, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Badlands, as well as other places. This is his moment.