Wednesday, February 16, 2011

‘Research Trip, Yucca Valley’ by Peter Wild (1940-2009)


Tired of being homeless,
                   of being fed by the ravens
             because women won’t believe them,
       at night the Joshua trees
   begin walking out of the mountains toward town
                   where they, too, will put their money down
                               and eat in restaurants
           while the tourists look,
        shocked at what’s happened to the world.
But when the sun soars up,
      at that sudden burst, their first challenge,
          they stop, like any crazed soldiers
                                                     caught in a minefield
                      thinking that by standing still
                                                   they’ll be invisible.
Going home on this flying research trip
                           on which at the end of the desert road
              we found the widow waiting at her door,
                                                                         who by magic
     handed us the manuscript of the nephew
                    all his life secretly in love with his cousin,
         the first thing in the morning
                                          you rush bushy-tailed
                         out of the Oasis of Eden Motel
               and insisting I take your picture with one
                                       strike your actress’s crepuscular pose,
                            laughing that the less I know
                                              the more you’re full of joy.

(published in  Permafrost, vol. 17, 1995)

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