High and Dry in the Mojave Desert
Since drought took hold, the trees lost their last fruit, grass seared to sand where life would not take root, and clustering figs shrunk by the ravening sun; the streams stood still where silver used to run in throats carved from the stone that fed these lands of thirst, where only memories filled our hands. Parched like the flowers, we thought we too would die. Without a saving cloud, the furnace sky burned brazenly with blue incessant fire. We only prayed to see the sun retire.
Until dark clouds rolled slowly over us against the purple sky, tumultuous, to burst on arid steeps and rend the air, echoing like the shrills of pitch despair. And when the sluice of rain suddenly fell, the withered figs allowed again to swell, we knew the mercy in our marrow bones arising green amid the burning stones.
Rondeau Redouble: The Gun Among the Lawless
Unjustly wronged, forbearance cast aside,
We let the chamber-mouth turn things around,
Reverse wrongs done, recast misfortune’s tide
Until the foe who downed the friend is downed.
No barrel can undo that burst of sound,
Call bullets back from wounds in friends rent wide
But we wreaked vengeance with ours, pound for pound,
Unjustly wronged, forbearance cast aside.
Our slack hands and our panther-feet belied
Our deep-held tension always tightly wound
But at the drop of a card and cheat denied,
We let the chamber-mouth turn things around.
Though parched with heat, our water all but dried,
We traced the guilty voices to be drowned
Where desert spread past sight on every side
Until the foe who downed the friend was downed.
We tracked them through the wastelands like a hound,
Fired at the camp where murderers would hide.
Then through the clearing cloud of smoke, we found
The wrong ones lay dead, misidentified,