Poems that stick with me

Watering the hibiscus
this afternoon —
its weary
parched-green leaves
wilting
in this too-early April heat —
I saw a gecko
who
climbed up the side
of the splintering planter box.

My first split-second
thought —
Alice Walker’s garden gecko.
Crouching,
perfectly still —
the both of us —
I stared at it
and took in
the wonder
of it all.

It didn’t move —
was it asking
for some water?

This bliss,
it was my Paradise.
Gray, rough-coated
nature —
staring right back at me
a foot from my face.

Slowly I moved the hose
just an inch in its direction.
Walker — I’d already
named it Walker —
disappeared so fast
I didn’t even see
it go.

I wish it would’ve stayed.
I had water to give
and troubles
to wash clean.

—Terri Guillemets

referencing Alice Walker’s 2011 poem “Going Out to the Garden,” in The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers, 2013 — alicewalkersgarden.com/2013/05/poem-going-out-to-the-garden

Night haze

The moon shines
into the dirty desert air
with a rusty opal halo —

Scorpius has lost his way
behind the thin clouds,
city glare, smoke, dust —

His heart shines in some far
better place — but not here
in this smoggy summer.

—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

Oh amazing desert, let’s rejoice together!

entire continents of grey-white clouds
hovering serenely in an enormous spring-blue sky
a soaring raven calls, out of its element
why are you this far south, beautiful bird?
then all is quiet but for a distant plane
heading to who-knows-where —
what a gorgeous afternoon!
way too beautiful for negative thoughts —
listening to subtle sounds of nature’s energies
oooh, sudden chilly-breeze goosebumps
coolness swirling through sunlit seventy degrees
a day of sensation and eerily silent excitement —
winter and spring overlapping at the seams

—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