Bio Note: I'm lucky in having settled in a part of Phoenix close to the desert mountain park, I believe the largest of all city parks or certainly close. I never set out to invest quite so much of my writing attention on this intersection of urban life and the desert, but that has been very useful to me and created insights I would otherwise have missed. My book-length work Speech Scroll owes much of its content to paying attention to what goes on right here, and was published by Cholla Needles in Joshua Tree, California.
A rest stop’s just a worn patch on the back lawn to the Green- tailed towhee, who stops a few days every April on the same bit of ground beside the bright lantana. This is where the stars part and the earth offers its threadbare welcome after the flight from Mexico, a place to stop and gather wind for the final stretch. Follow the russet crown in sunlight. Look closely at the white on eyebrow and chin. Even in shade the contour is not to be mistaken for a sparrow. Every detail fits. And a memory pulls itself together from another time, arriving unannounced on a bare spot in the mind to stay a while and forage until the moment when quickly it is time to fly to summer’s fields.
The Shadow Within
The top skin flies from the mountain’s afternoon and leaves the rock beneath it open to the starlight’s blessing. Where does it hurt? the night sky asks, how deep was the cut? And the constellations rise with no further questions. The canyons know, and all the mesquite trees can feel in their roots that a cry is forming ready to break through and confess to the skyline what the darkest layers feel.
©2022 David Chorlton
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