Desiccated

I write of only 3%
of the landscape
around me —
the green trees
colorful flowers
amazingly adaptive
dryland wildlife
and blind myself
to the rest of it —
but it’s time
to take a good look
and acknowledge
my selective seeing —
the 97% is dull
barren, stark, harsh, hot
out my bedroom window
there is a plain brown
block walled fence, my
neighbor’s white-metal
shed roof, off of which
glares the sun so brightly
it’s blinding, not a speck
of green in sight, except
one small weed emerging
from dusty gray rocks —
yes, there is a lizard
on the wall, doing push-ups
in the morning sun
and I watch him
with fascination
awed with nature
I forget the surrounding
urban desert ugliness —
until suddenly I wonder
where will he get
his next water?
surely from someone’s
yard watering system
but where do we  get
that precious water
for our thirsty homes?
and how much longer
will we be fortunate
enough to have it?
our city and county
allow so much over-
development, it feels
as if they are slowly
killing us, overcrowding
us, not caring about
our quality of life
nor the lizard’s —
but maybe, just maybe
we Phoenicians are
simply outright foolish
for trying to live here
in our air-conditioned
fortresses while the
city dries up around us

—Terri Guillemets

Death lights heavy

Hummingbird mama —
abandons her nonviable eggs
but keeps checking back
a few more times, just to be sure.

Nested arms fall off a saguaro,
break open on the ground
like fragile eggshells —
after decades of desert still-life
a few seconds of death-motion.

But the night breeze is so beautiful
those breezes are — so beautiful,
it’s hard not to get swept away.

—Terri Guillemets

Saguaro arms

           a shrug, a hug
       touchdown, letdown
  waving, curling, sprouting
 disco, vogue; praise, prayer
 bird-pecked, green-specked
 skeletonized, or multiplied
 flower and fruity fingered
  flipped, frail, or fallen off
  perfected, nested, crested

—Terri Guillemets

City-desert nightwalk

early summer, late at night
pleasant sweet-smelling air
clouds veiling a half-lit moon
Scorpius crawling up the sky
tree-hid birds awake chirping
lone dog barking in its yard
startled stray cats darting
crickets playing insistent songs
quiet of people gone to bed
mellow breezes gently stirring
damp-grass lawns subtly cooling
street lights too brightly illuming
saguaro blooms softly glowing

—Terri Guillemets

Desert weeds after heavy rains

Some weeds are nourishing, and some medicinal;
Some are beautiful, colorful, and downright flowery;
And yet others, even those that pop up one fine morning
as the tiniest innocent young sprouts of green —
are relentless, run riot, and are one hundred and ten percent determined as  @#!%  to  @#!%  up your  @#!%  yard if it @#!% kills  the @#!%  both of you!

—Terri Guillemets