Desert Rain

The sun holds the halo of the mountaintop.
Clouds bend and gallop over the range.
A landscape of clouds,
A cathedral of trees,
Their steepled tops flowing into the blue earth.
Water’s slow dance wears the earth to canyons between us.

My aunt; her eyes flash like fish,
“It’s good to be alive.”
Wind tingled through her spread fingers,
Like lightning rods absorbing strike and thunder.
A religion, based on forecasts,
Reaps the havoc of her death.

The dislocation of transit,
Wings buffet and stream.
Driving by Braille,
Our fingers are worn from the road.
We have finally arrived, from forest to desert,
To scatter Aunt Mary Lou’s ashes.

It rained yesterday, and I am stuffed up with a head cold.
The desert cleared, today.
We try to keep from spilling her on our shoes,
As we each grab a handful of her spleen and such and send her to the wind.
In the hospital, her oxygen mask was off.
“I couldn’t sleep with this thing stuck to my face. They tried to shove a tube….”, wind.

Relatives scatter in the desert,
Looking for rocks (as she did),
Talking of what she said and did,
And waxing and waning in couples and sorrow.
We went out to the ice cave,
Frozen to its mouth and darkness.

I sit in the powdery air
And grieve with frozen eyes—
Too many mountains worn to canyons,
Too many deaths in one blink—
Thawed to flash
In the warm desert rain.


Joseph Gordon Wilson lives in the Seattle area. He recently earned an M.F.A. in poetry from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, where he had Carolyne Wright and David Wagoner for poetry professors.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina was born in Salina, Kansas. Mr. Tijerina has a Master of Art degree in history, concentration being military history and diplomacy. He is a published author of military theory, short stories, essays and poetry. Mr. Tijerina resides in Vermont.