David Floren

The Desert At Night

Perched on a high rock,
I hear the desert
Whispering:
Scrub brush and rubble
Under a faint moon,

Cooling the flat granite
That would have seared skin
At noon.

The day is done.

Emboldened
By getting through it,

By having seen in one day:
Cacti;
Shapely stones;
Fire ants and their mound;
Uneven regions of color
Blotching the hot regolith;
The sprinting roadrunner;
A lone turkey vulture
Carving slow loops.

Beholden
To a sated stomach,
I stretch sore legs on stone
(wishing stones were softer)
And survey this softer view.

My fading campfire
(a reassuring sputter)
Seems to want one too.

So I gaze hard
At what in sunlight
Seemed bold as a full
Civil War-era beard.

What weird sheen
Now coats the vast floor,
Like first stubble,
Blurring the sharp cheek.

The pale crescent
Bends its bow and flings
A fusillade of stolen sun rays
In hopes of striking details.
See how it fails!

Where are the birds?

They have eyes
Better than mine
To glean the shapes
Of favorite prey,
And ears like owls
To keep them fed.

You know that life
Abounds in this desert..
They showed you a film
At the Visitor’s Center.
Near camp you saw fire ants
Raid the remains of a kit fox.

Now vast stillness
Keeps hints
Of scuttling lizards
Under wraps,
And birds
Must stir and scratch.

But these perked ears
Hear just the sizzle
Of spent logs smoldering,

And these roving eyes
Can find no perch
In the dim expanse.


[10-15-99 Eugene, OR]

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 10, 2008

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Comments about The Desert At Night by David Floren

  • Chitra - (7/27/2008 6:13:00 AM)

    vivid imagery there, well composed.

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Maya Angelou

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