south by southwest (stacy wills, 2012)
Rain in the Desert
The huge red-buttressed mesa over yonder
Is merely a far-off temple where the sleepy sun is burning
Its altar fires of pinyon and toyon for the day.
The old priests sleep, white shrouded;
Their pottery whistles lie beside them, the prayer-sticks closely feathered.
On every mummied face there glows a smile.
The sun is rolling slowly
Beneath the sluggish folds of the sky-serpents,
Coiling, uncoiling, blue black, sparked with fires.
The old dead priests
Feel in the thin dried earth that is heaped about them,
Above the smell of scorching, oozing pinyon,
The acrid smell of rain.
And now the showers
Surround the mesa like a troop of silver dancers:
Shaking their rattles, stamping, chanting, roaring,
Whirling, extinguishing the last red wisp of light.
-John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)