The sky boiled with clotted
clouds, only the horizon’s
carnelian flame proving that
color hadn’t finally been banned
by some decree from on high,
far too ostentatious and sinful
for this world, this veil of tears
before the coming rapture.
There were moments, flashes
like sudden and involuntary
remembrance, flashbacks to
lysergic days now long gone,
momentary dreams of heat
so tangible that even sweat
wouldn’t come, but instead
evaporated like rain that never
reaches the earth.
I remembered the wind coming
off the baking hardpan with
cat’s claws and the smell of juniper
berries, the quenching of myself
in water when no other medium
would take the burning away,
and how it tempers folk who
live with that fire, hardening them
like beaten metal, even pale,
baser tissues going bronze
under the unblinking eye of
Recollections of nights wandering
in the desert, a counterfeit, drunken
holy man, my great penance the
swirling vertigo of tequila and my
redemption to somehow find the
trail again and come back to camp
before morning came.
The dismal euphony of clouds,
their shuddering movement
recalling a tympani flourish just
short of the crescendo, the
dying sun winking low now
and abandoning me to this
more northerly latitude where
nothing burns quite so hard
and earnestly as those remembered
Rain somehow equates with
death, the doom of the summer
within me, calling faintly to the
coming autumn, daring it for
speed and knowing it for the
slow and softer thing it is.
Out of these dreams of fevered
heat, out of the dusky remnants
now burnt down like old sticks
of incense, I am called back to this
cooler clime, this lesser dream,
these jaded and unwholesome
epochs after the possibility of
winter is discovered.
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