The Desert Is a Woman

Charles Mahaffey


of shaded canyons          harvested ruins cluttered over
red faced rock.

You know this as          birth. In a tomb the messiah waited.
His tongue split open,          “water”          he cried.        Sand begot the father

not mother &
he suffered          so.

Can you imagine fruit grows there?

With her figs and pomegranates glyphs dug into          cliffs,
& still men march          like termites.
The mouth of a mound grows when fed.

There are some truths that do not want to be known and there are others who are stained

These are her shaking          faults of rock called barren

worthless stone

with eons worn

down to smooth

But barren is bare if nothing flows beneath the ground                    swelling.
She is swelling.
& clouds grope the ceilings.

Our bodies are melting in forgive-