Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Flower in the Desert

It is a rare flower that can handle hardpan,
that sinks roots into dry, cracked earth
that only dares to dream of silver lines of rain,
fat drops to melt away the grit from unrelenting sun.

It is a miracle that yellow and violet petals,
forgiving of the genocide of its kind,
can remain open to peace and possibility,
only folding their beauty when a cold moon

perches on a jagged peak of igneous shadow,
the pale face of an emperor ruling a wasteland.
But the politics of emptiness is fickle.
The indifferent white demeanor is quickly dethroned

by a smiling yellow dictator
who welcomes only cactus, scrub, sagebrush,
and, in a moment of clemency,
a fair and lonely maiden dressed for court.

I met such a fine lady in the desert of my youth,
when promise had been beaten down
by a wanton weed, dry wedlock
pursuing a scorched earth policy

for the sake of pursuing scorched earth,
blue draining from my eyes,
green fading from my heart.
From the corner of my eye

I spied a flower in the desert,
but I did not have faith that angels would catch me
lest I hurt my foot against a stone.
I stood on the the parapet of the temple,

hesitating for a split second
as I pondered angels and the epiphany of the flower,
then slipped, hurtling towards hardpan,
and awoke, bruised and alone.

Or so the story goes.
Decades later, in moments of fertile recollection
I see yellow and violet
from the corner of my eye.

~William Hammett

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