Ruby’s last dress
is the color of desert flowers
after a late spring monsoon,
purple pops on barrel cactus, pink of prickly pears,
pleated across a canvas of rock-damp sand.
On a bench she waits a hot afternoon,
wind gritty across her face.
Cross-legged she sits late through ember-ash twilight,
until night hawk screes low into pinion scrub.
What a miracle if bodies swimming down sidewalks
were fish gliding through currents,
where he in a shadowed shallow,
grabs for her flash-silver slickness.
Flapping fins, beating heart, clenched in one hand.
Water in dreams runs downhill,
disappears down a sandy arroyo,
blessed by something that is not God
but a magician with a bottle of Milagro,
as if dresses, fish, and he who once loved them,
a mirage, dissolving on some horizon.
Dialectics After Dark
My muse and I pull the sheets, words
crawl into a box beneath the bed.
Some spread doomy-disquietude, others
stanza-ed surprise, loneliness taken
like a wrestler, leg-locked eye-locked,
victory for a change. We share a language
I would never trade like a gem from earth’s
cradle to the ambivalent light between air walls,
or to sleazy illumination in a drunk-choked bar.
We agree, fairytales are dark and sienna
Crayola on construction paper, honest.
And what about the arrogance of colons
to abrupt uncertainty? Once metaphor
grew green and antioxidant-rich, now lines
bake barren, weedy with distraction.
Somehow tercets signal form ready to speak
in God-perfect timbre. We savor detail’s
pungent bite – weather sirens, nights
pregnant with humidity, white-haired couples
spinning to brassy-beats. Let’s not forget
the push on our tongues to suppress dialect
knocking on glass, locked out talking politics
at last call, while the vacuous miss glances
and whispers like lavender among hemlock.
By your eyes, I would never suffocate
sparks in our shared breath, or tear
roots tangled in our felicitous dirt.
Who asks anymore, are you happy? and means
peace worn on wet lips and the satiated
hum-of-soul against a pulsing chest.
Dawn’s first purpling thoughts
open a heavy door, kiss us goodbye,
as gadwalls call from marshy-mist.
Who would complicate truth
to trade for anything more
or pen a perfect less?
Morningside at the Desert Casino
Travel is a roll of the dice.
Like today, waking
to the pinking of your ridgetop
beyond the road, nestled in line
among the Rincon mountains.
Big sky floor filled in misty
slumber, percolating purples
nudge stony shoulders
to sweep light’s ticking
hands across another day.
Your yawn opens wide
valleys of Sonoran splendor,
saguaro, sagebrush spread
like a slow spill washing night
shadows into daylit drains.
Eggshell blue streams high,
wind-waves for wispy-skiffs.
One sunrise, perhaps, those
inside will wrap their fingers
into your sandy feet, grasp
for the sacred seed spilled
from your Mother’s burlap.
Shrieking pineapple sevens
and spinning double cherries
cascade by quarters,
half pulls at our rabbit hunger.