portion of the artwork for Kelly Luce's poetry

Outside Joshua Tree
Kelly Luce

The spell’s recited three times.
Bobcat, jackrabbit. A magician
whose curved palm conceals the desert.
Step inside, step inside.
A roosting dove freezes.

Sand holds warm breath
while the sky sags
like an overloaded shelf:
cracked pages, hot knowledge
filed and left to bake.
Ahead glints our answer—
we must only keep walking.

Clouds curdle pink cream
across the face of a peak where the chief’s spirit remains trapped.
You tell of a climber thumbing to the trailhead,
the jacket he left on your seat
and how the effort to return it revealed he never came back.

To conceal is different than to hide.
The smell of the desert is metal,
full of flight.
Here, of all places,
I whisper the names of the flawed ones who love me.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013