desert landscape with diatreme

this black crag
	looming above the desert floor
and i wonder
	will it speak
	will it raise its head
		and speak death again
yes, menace
	but only a black crag
   cheery pastel sandstone
	flow past in unperturbed pink
and its shadow at noon is benign enough
   but at sunset
	you can almost see its wings
	you can almost feel its breath
	you can almost hear its pulse
it whispers at dawn
	beauty always comes at a cost
i believe in it
	this black crag
   like i have never believed in anything before
because i certainly don't want
	to see, feel, hear 
		physical proof
this ancient black crag
	looming silently in a sea of pink
bequeaths what man and god cannot

time travel in the desert

standing here is traveling
	snapshots of the same where
		in vastly different whens
a shard of anasazi house keeping
a reptilian footprint in pink sand
an extinct primordial volcanic throat

here is the desert sand
	blowing over ancient sandstone deserts
here is the frail lizard
	darting over petrified ancestral femurs
here is the fresh basalt
	cascading over proterozoic greenstones
time travel

i see ghosts at the river's edge
i see mighty seas on the mountaintops
i see the sun
	she knows
she's seen half the three billion years spread before me

time spread to time immemorial
wrought this time capsule
and now i, an insignificant second, stand
traveling the vast reaches of time
all spread at my feet
time travel in the desert


... and she opened a gash in the earth
she laid his broken body in this newly wrought cradle
at his feet she placed his bow and quiver
	now bereft of all but the silver arrow
in his hands she placed the white knife
	now stained black with congealing blood
at his side, the sword of the fallen star
	now sundered at the hilt
for his head, she made a pillow of her mantle

she sang words of healing
and words of sustaining breath
and words of balm and release
and he drew a convulsive breath

she sang a sleep song over his torment
and in deep slumber was he cast

she began to grow
to swell beyond the sun
many things there were who heard her song
and slept
a blanket of warm sleep o'er spread the land
and she became drowsy by her own spell

she curled her body
around the fallen
shielding him from the waking world
then she too closed her eyes
and slept

and no man has been able to wake her
nor the warrior she guards in unceasing slumber

©Elizabeth Anker 2021