To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain (James Wright)

December 16, 2009

I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
Of night.

I have torn myself out of many bitter places
In America, that seemed

Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon.
I wish I were the spare shadow
Of the roadrunner, I wish I were
The honest lover of the diamondback
And the tear the tarantula weeps.
I had no idea you were so tall
And blond in moonlight.
I got thirsty in the factories,
And I hated the brutal dry suns there,
So I quit.

You were the shadow
Of a hallway
In me.

I have never gone through that door,
But the elf owl’s face
Is inside me.

Saguaro,
You are not one of the gods.
Your green arms lower and gather me.
I am an elf owl’s shadow, a secret
Member of your family.

*

I couldn’t possible explain or measure the affection I have for Wright’s poetry. He is always hitting all the right keys at just the right times. His arms again and again lowering and gathering me into mystery.

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