Joshua Tree National Park

A desert is not enough word
for its life here, clinging -
shimmering distance sears
the backs of bare hillsides,
plants’ fibers
twisting to slow ash-skeletons
this dance to their sun god,
the cycle of life
and death only slow for the strongest.

Joshua Trees endure,
solemn rows arranged
in a plan of compelling
randomness’ purpose,
their night sky’s stars splayed
in bewildering chaos,
breathless like the cold
seeping from the arroyo floor.

For a time, countless flowers
arrange in a symphony,
purple, orange and yellow
follow the spring rain floods;
boulders and earth,
like their children the trees, patient,
their spirits now listening
for water prayers buried once more
beneath the waiting soil.

© 2004 Jon Bohrn

Joshua Tree National Park, J. Bohrn archives


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