Desert Poem – Joshua Song

painting by catherine jennings

Joshua Song

I can still hear the ocean from the brush
a low hollow whirr, bent over blowing
on its back; a despicable thud coming from
deep, the caliche hums, secret reserve
water table bubbles, the desert awake
with the sound of rain – {finally} rain!
but the sand slaps back a symphony clap
hard from ten thousand nights rind dry
unaccustomed to moisture the desert resists
& the water is whisked off to lower ground
but down below, where the silt has drunk
its fill of ancient quench and slept for centuries
I can still hear the ocean, from the cacti
rinsed, swelling fruitful spines, barrel
rolled open the Joshua trees with arms
Spread out—sing the Mohave a lullaby
Like a wind chime, every drop a note
On their shingle pines; I can still hear
the ocean, from all that time ago

—ECW