Mares’ tails fan across a singularly flat blue sky
as the red-tailed hawk circles,
riding a lazy thermal,
creating a small shadow 
running across the desert floor.

A burrowing owl nods a greeting
and then laughs
at the shy chuckwalla,
head bobbing in and out of a rock crevice
unable to decide whether or not to make an appearance.

The Joshua tree
reaches stubby fingers to God in prayer,
petitioning for rain that will not come.

Mojave they call you.
Hamakhaave.
“Beside the water”
but never in.
Like the paralysed man at Bethesda,
you watch while others receive healing,
cheated by the rain-shadow
which yields rivers on the other side.

Yet every so often
when God has mercy,
sending an abundance of rain,
you blanket every inch of gravelly soil
with brilliant wildflowers,
setting the desert on fire.

 

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Today Mish at d’Verse asks us to write a poem inspired by the Southwest.
I live far from the American Southwest now, on a different continent and in a sub-tropic climate.  However my little sister was born in the Mojave Desert, where my family lived once upon a time.  I feel a thread of a connection with this beautiful place.
This is for you, Celia, child of the desert (Isaiah 43:19,  John 5).

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