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Joy and Hope and All That: A Tribute to Lucille Clifton

Sonoran Desert Poem

the ones who live in the desert,
if you knew them
you would understand everything.

– lucille clifton

 

I

coming to the desert for the first time

and the night turns over a millennia before you
just say the name mountain

of mountains—make more
out of bird formations or drainage pipes

deserts build water
so drink the lightning

II

so you have been here for some time

velvet ants and paper wasps testify
sandstone bones are left long under sage

bones sculpted by sand—sand that collects its legs
in the atmospheric heat to storm and swallow

an entire city—a city that too builds its water
from fly ash—drink from that now

the cactus wren finished the lightning

III

there are those who come to the desert
because they have always been here

wind coyotes grow thorns
in the inches of light sunsets have

of mountains—do not make a mountain
reach for one and let it turn away from you

Jake Skeets

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Dineì from the Navajo Nation and holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts ...

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