Frolic in Organ Pipe

  • An organ pipe and saguaros in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Each time my Mothers Who Write group came to poetry week, I would groan, not because I hate poetry, but because I feel so inadequate in its world.

Still, Deborah Sussman, our highly literate instructor, (who with Amy Silverman forms the MWW yin/yang) would coax us along like discombobulated chicks, encouraging and praising our efforts, no matter how pitiful.

I’ve also been inspired by my friend David Stabler’s brother, Martin, who each morning sends out Daily Sightings, a collection of his and others photos, poetry and thoughts.

So, this year, as I vow to broaden my self-expression (because those who know me know I don’t express myself nearly enough), I’m dabbling with colored pencils and watercolor (another out-of-my-element endeavor) and trying different kinds of writing.

Hence, I offer this, Desert Invitation.

Deborah and Martin, this one’s for you

Desert invitation

Organ Pipe,
drunk from rains,
is partying.

The lithe ocotillo
throws her arms up with abandon,
her hands filled with scarlet confetti.

Fancy frocks are slipped on,
speckled with pollen,
the poppy’s tangerine,
chicory alabaster,
mallow apricot,
fleabane ivory,
penstemon lavender,
and buckwheat, palest pink.

Harris’s hawk,
a skeptical bouncer,

The cholla wears a crown
of dusty-pink buds,
some burst open
into salmon tissue paper,
like New Year’s Eve poppers.

The master blister beetle,
dressed in crimson and black,
gorges on brittlebush petals.

Gila, the woodpecker, DJs,
his percussive beat
leading the reveler’s chorus
of trilling wrens,
chucking quail
and orgasmic bees.

Even the sturdy saguaro,
standing vigilant
like the designated driver,
reaches out with twisted limbs.

The zebra-tailed lizard
looks coyly over its shoulder,
waves its striped last part,
and dares us to join it
as it darts under a bush.

Of course, we follow.

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