anything can happen in June

a woman who lives
where aurora dances
where earth sleeps beneath snow
for half the year
this woman may be swept
to her destiny
the heat

before she left she announced
I’m going to fall in love
the desert will hold me

she finds small hot stones
fills her pockets, her bag
the weight grounds her
keeps her from sky where
wind whirls the sun’s gifts
round her like a torment
that shapes her to bone

she laughs at jack rabbit
road runner. question:
why did the road runner
cross the street?
to get to the shade of the desert pine

quails charm her
she studies ants negotiating
their crossings

even coyote shows himself
he is shadow slinking
from bush to bush
out there

a still toad on cool concrete
wishes himself
invisible but she sees him

the pavilion is compelling, a magnet
that draws her – day
when she stands
by the round pool
wets her skin in the spray
rising from the stone fish

night – when the temperature
drops to 98, the air softer
on her face

the fish spouts
water life
stone white pillars
hold the heat of the day
hold her

at night she walks
moves like a shadow beneath
the stars, desert moon
on luminous land

the orb of her flashlight
seeks snakes, spiders
but none meet her
there is only the sound
of toads in the pool
the soft clacking of palm fronds
fountains that bubble
for birds
in the courtyard

a welcome that sings

~ Catherine McLaughlin

Catherine’s poetry has appeared most recently in Legacy Magazine, Spring 2008, and Arborealis: a Canadian Anthology of Poetry (2008), published by the Ontario Poetry Society. She is completing a manuscript that includes many poems about the land and her relationship with it. And she still dreams about the desert…

Leave a Reply