Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Desert Song

The desert knows no silence;
wind whispers a million legends.
It hears the wails and happiness
of those in the wild, breathing in
the same air, same spaces.
All meet the sky, moon,
rolling hills. Paws leave
impressions in fine soil,
at times scorching from sun,
cooling after rain and cloud cover.

Nature knows no boundaries except
where rain chooses to fall,
forming puddles so plants,
insects, and animals can drink
from the land. So that minerals
sleeping deep in the earth
can grow crystalline structures.
So that cactus leaves can maintain storage
for use during droughts. So life
can see the desert's succulence.
Sand dunes roll into a majestic mountain,
sitting stronger than a fortress,
slowly shifting over hundreds of years.

Every step or crawl on dirt
creates a sound, as wind whips
into a howl, as rain drizzles or pelts,
as a warming touch from the sun's light
kisses shade. Every bark and roar
from friend or foe, every flapping whir
from bee or hummingbird, even
a quiet landing of moth or butterfly –
a desert will never be silent,
though it seems so from a distance.


"Try the sushi," he said.
Trusted his gleeful

Waiter brought me
an artful plate – a half
dozen or more. Perfect
spacing of well-formed
pieces, rice and raw fish
rolled in seaweed. A thin
luster coating each.
Steam wiggled upward
from their centers,
wafted into my nostrils.
Their smell, non-appetizing.
Stink pursed my lips,
wrinkled my nose, put bile
on defense – at the pit.

Do I cut with a fork?
Eat with my fingers?
Gouge with chopsticks?
I remember the gleam
in his eyes, smile on
his face, saying, "I know
you're going to love this."

Just one teeny, tiny nibble.
Forced myself to swallow.
Eeuw! Coughed it up.
Spit it out. Is he trying
to kill me? What is this –
dead fish that soaked for days
in a cesspool, rolled in dirt,
plopped on my plate?
How could he eat his?
I wanted American food!