by Emily Paige Wilson
If the desert cannot be settled,
let it be anxious and alert—its worry
Let it cover in protective
dust what it loves. If
the desert can’t be hospitable, let it
take solace in what it can offer: no
one appreciates water without
first experiencing thirst. All myths
begin with dirt—let the desert remember
this if it must be homesick.
If the desert finds itself
too vast to keep
track of, let it know it is a canvas—
night paints expansive its stars and black
glass, the scent of cactus flower.
If its scorched earth can’t be
fertile, let it feel it is not
alone—the desert lark in its cracked
jacket of mud, the sand-speckled
flesh of the spade-foot toad—let it know
camouflage is finding safety in family resemblance.
If the desert is ever accused
of storing secrets,
let it always refer back to its blue
scar of sky. How could a place
afraid to share itself hold this much
If the desert can’t be lush,
let it burn metallic like molten
copper ore. Some people wait for
the rust and flame of sunset every day,
but the desert was born with this orange
in its skin.