Organ Pipe Checkpoint


When the officer asks

Are you a citizen?

the answer isn’t easy

to articulate. It’s been

eleven thousand years since the ice cap

receded for mesquite

to grow here, and six thousand

five hundred later the Organ pipe

appeared. The oldest

mountains have been worn

down to what they are

by sixty million years of weather

while the plates beneath them

shifted. It all

made a place where the Cactus wrens

could nest among thorns

and scrape against silence with their calls.

There’s a green light today

growing out from where the earth cracks.

Every vista here

ends long ago,

too far away

for anyone to call it home.



David Chorlton



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