Arizona Desert by Charles Tomlinson


Arizona Desert
by Charles Tomlinson

drinks the dry orange ground,
the cowskull
bound to it by shade:
sun-warped, the layers
of flaked and broken bone
unclench into petals,
into eyelids of limestone:

Blind glitter
that sees
spaces and steppes expand
of the purgatories possible
to us and

Upended trees
in the Hopi’s desert orchard
unceasing unspoken war,
the leveling light,
imageless arbiter.

A dead snake
pulsates again
as, hidden, the beetles’ hunger
mines through the tunnel of its drying skin.

Here, to be,
is to sound
patience deviously
and follow
like the irregular corn
the water underground.

from mud and stone
parch back
to the dust they humanize
and mean
marriage, a loving lease
on sand, sun, rock and
means peace.

PHOTO: Arizona desert by Robert Murray on Unsplash

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