Edge of The Desert

I had never been to the desert before this trip to Arizona. The house was at the very edge. Tumbleweeds rolled through the yard when the wind blew. Strong enough to toss the lawn-chairs about the place. When it rained the scent of the Creosote bushes opened up in the world and I understood why people here spoke the word so fondly.

Arizona tryptich



To the Desert
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I came to you one rainless August night.
You taught me how to live without the rain.
You are thirst and thirst is all I know.
You are sand, wind, sun, and burning sky,
The hottest blue. You blow a breeze and brand
Your breath into my mouth. You reach—then
bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
You wrap your name tight around my ribs
And keep me warm. I was born for you.
Above, below, by you, by you surrounded.
I wake to you at dawn. Never break your
Knot. Reach, rise, blow,
Sálvame, mi dios,
Trágame, mi tierra. Salva, traga, Break me,
I am bread. I will be the water for your thirst.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, “To the Desert” from Dark and Perfect (El Paso: Cinco Puntos Press, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Used with the permission of the author. Source: Dark and Perfect (1995)




Creosote Bush: Creosote Larrea tridentata