Desert Poetry



Written on hotel stationary, with a shaky hand, while on a grueling back country hike in the desert………

Hot and dry. Arid and parched. My skin screams out for moisture. My hair, disregarded, resembles red wisps of straw. In flurries, tangled, to be dealt with another day.

My breasts are glowing golden peaches. The weathered red patches of my elbows are akin to a leathery reptile. I look down at my body, hardly recognizing it as my own. My skin, once so smooth and soft, the silken ivory is now raw and angry. Scratches, bites, blisters, and cracks. I briefly contemplate the origin of this bruise or that welt. I move on. The heat leaves little room for thought or care, I look down at my fingers, swollen and puffy. They have joined the rest of my body in the protest. All limbs are on strike, refusing to cooperate.

My mind is mush. Words come slowly, eventually, barely trickling from my mouth to form rudimentary sentences. Thoughts to communication is a slow, difficult process. Words form like the slow drip of sticky sweet sap down the rough bark of the juniper tree. The heat is an obstacle.

His camera lens swings in my direction once again and I display the newly purchased turquoise adorning my middle finger. “No,” he protests. “I want this one just for me.” I give him a pretty smile, then a mischievous grin. I pull the sweat-soaked cotton up over my shoulders and my grin is joined by his.

“Come. Lick me. Taste my salt.”  I invite him to help me create my own moisture in the heat.