Encelia farinose in Spring

First to crawl out from underneath winter
a lizard shines
against the morning grass
as he moves from shade to shade
and a flash
to match that on his scales
cuts into the heights
where the mountain has arched
its back to bear
the season’s weight. An oriole
flies out of the sun
to the ocotillo’s many arms, lingering
between its kiss-red blooms
while the ridgeline sways
a little above and beyond
the day’s imagination
and beginning at the yellow
Brittlebush in flower
the sunlight climbs
until it hardens into rock.

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Unmapped Worlds, featuring older poems that had suffered neglect, is out from FutureCycle Press. He recently took up watercoloring again, after twenty dry years. Read other articles by David.