In which I make friends with a cactus when traveling to the desert where my friend found love
I think of the near impossibility of life in the desert
as we hurtle through space, alarmingly high up
and looking down I see glowing networks of cars and homes
following the curves of the rivers and mountains
We fly west toward the receding sunset, and west some more
gaining against time until we overtake it, plunging into the future dark
Below us the delicate web of pulsing cities is growing holes
of dark purple nighttime, of the great barren empty.
Arid didn't mean much to me,
coming from an almost spongy island
wrapped in water, shrouded in mist
with creeks as veins and salt marsh as a heart
but stepping foot off the plane,
I swear my hair released its curls
and dropped straight down my back
and I felt my skin tighten in yearning.
We make our midnight way to the house and
I roll the windows down for the relief of wind and pressure,
for evidence of moving viscerally through space,
for the reassurance of land, as yet unreal
I breathe in the warm, dusty air and it is somehow full,
dense with orange blossoms and the scurrying
of creatures with large eyes who know the wisdom
in prowling after the sun retreats.
The humming doesn't stop as we pull our luggage out,
and the moon balances on the finest, uppermost spike
of a towering cactus to the left of the driveway.
It is a strange silhouette to me, almost cartoonish
in its foreign familiarity. It is tall, almost ten feet high,
and I cannot resist going up to lay my hand gently
in between the spines, where it is surprisingly cool,
and smooth and heavy. I tap it with two fingers
and a deep reverberating thud strums through
the chaotic night, the hidden water echoing
with our secret understanding. I go back to the car
to shoulder our bags. The cactus winks.
march 2016, copyright sarah hirsch.
A blog of mostly poems, some prose. Recent works will be added to the top, and older pieces are backdated. Please write me a note if you have any questions, etc!
All works are original and copyright Sarah Hirsch, 2017. Please contact me directly if you would like permission to use any images or words. Thank you!
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