The Sheltering Sky

a lizard skates

across the sand

burrows into a berm of clay

its tail sidewinds

through a ragged hole

pink tongue flicks

against transparent bricks

of solid air

shadows prosecute

the painted desert

fossils solidify

in the grueling sun

death bears down

on piquant flowers

forgetful that water

still flows within

heat spawns life

then carelessly

snuffs it out

my heart hangs on the pins

of a prickly pear cactus

bursts into polygons

bathed by fountains of rain

pooled underground

clouds litter the azure dome

crest above mountaintops

ponies race toward capes of snow

glued to turquoise stone

veined in gold such wealth

belongs to no one such delight

cannot be denied the pilgrim

in search of mortal beauty

words shiver in the cold

of the page

drip icicles

onto the desert floor

barrenness knows no bounds

embraces all weak ideas

all false metaphors fade

into dark dusk purples

the sheltering sky

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