CCW Finalist, Poetry

Desert Shrine by Donna M. Marbach


I.
Like temple guards, saguaros stand
unbending
amid mesquite brush and sage,
as clouds
process across a turquoise sky,
trail shadows in the sand.

Ghost songs of Hopi shamans
sift the wind
in canyon corners, echo
and rattle like the rattles
of the desert diamond-back.

Horned toads and scorpions
know the tales
of dark-eyed girls
in stones and silver chains
who drew
(with hallowed hands)
blood
red clay from earthen veins
and hollowed bowls
to hold a nation,
wove grass deep baskets
to keep the rain.

II.
Time
has touched this place.
Winds have chipped away the stones.
Sands scoured bare the rocks,
sculpted monuments in clay,
in bones,
and tumbleweed.

Today it brushes dust
across the footprints of a deer
and stretches shadows
through the circles
of a hawk.

Donna M. Marbach