Morning, Night, Dream

Four Peaks float on a fingertip
that points toward spring.
It’s time for Brittlebush and taxes.
A flock of unpaid bills
flies past as mockingbirds are singing
and the purple and the yellow
flowers say the rain
paid off some debts last week.
It’s quiet on this side
of the mountain; no rush hour slowdowns and
no shootings to report
from overnight. A few trails
wander through the desert,
a flicker bounces on the light
and a roadrunner come to examine
the balance sheet between
income and expenditure stops
to cough out a lizard’s shadow.
The dark side of the day: Earth’s breath
makes a veil across the moon
and the mountain’s voice
is a whisper
which guides the animals who sleep
underground back
from stalking starlight.
But first they walk
on stony ground as they pass
through gaps in human imagination
and the gates
dividing privacy from public space.
It’s all the same to them. They
own whatever ground they’re on.
How easily they step
from the past into the now, where
they stay for only
long enough to disappear.
Those who lived here once
live here again. When they left they left
inscriptions on the rocks
bearing messages to the stars.
Now they have returned the stars
are all they recognize
of what they used to know. There are
foreign trees and native stones.
There are paths to the store
but none to the soul. It bewilders them
how people today can hang
a sun inside their houses. Some nights
they follow the coyotes
down to washes and streets
where darkness
is the only coat they wear
and silence is the language
of a prayer.



David Chorlton


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