Desert Suite #8: Red Piano in the Desert
by Kimberly White
It is red, because the desert is red with small pianoesque shapes of scorpions,
lavarock concertos stripped to their bones
It is a piano because the keys of the desert pound strings of yucca leaf and
spiderweb, grace notes circle the raptors, trace ochre streams, carve red-vein
strokes of piano wind. Tiny stones shift themselves in tune with the bars of
desert movement in constant orchestration, vibrating strings of connective
air, footsteps in sync with a jazzbeat heart, beat changing tides ebbing
flowing sunforsaken red
It carries, the hidden notes rustle to the surface, create subliminal bands of
disruption, fan waves of cold and heat, scatter themselves in leaf litter and
decay, die and resurrect before the echo settles backward into rest.
The Blue Dog of Midnight
Clatterdog paws on a kitchen floor
sniff out scraps of night
paws hesitate, then pick up,
follow a twitchy nose along
cupboard borders and pantry doors
and refrigerator floors. I, the
insomniac in the back bedroom,
sweat through sheets twisted
with the haunted labor of counting
down the night. The wages of
sleep earn themselves, disrespective
of my circadian plans.
Calloused dog paws scratch the back
door, wanting out, hungry for the
call of the moon. Sleepwalk
footsteps shuffle his way, blind to
tender toes underfoot. The sleepwalker
checks her sleep pocket for the gun that
lives only in her dreams. A dog barks,
her hand opens a door, the dog escapes
to the welcoming moon. In my sleep,
I hunt, I stalk, my prey recognizes
my gun and flees. Possibly warned by
who has padded off to someone
else’s sleepwalk, maybe his own,
or to sniff another kitchen door,
ragged nails click time counting
down another ruthless night in a
wakeful backroom bed.
If a fat-ass robin
hits a tree and the
poet is not there
to laugh at it, does
it make a sound?
Coyote will hear it.
he can smell stupid
a mile off.
Kimberly White’s poetry has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Cream City Review, Big Muddy, and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of four chapbooks and two novels. You can find her poetry and collage art on her website, www.purplecouchworks.com, as well as on Facebook and various refrigerator doors.