Memory as the Moon

(Water Colour by David Chorlton)

The moon was once a cactus flower
opening in the sky. Its scented light
turned deserts blue, and arroyos tasted
of monsoon. Water sang
the long slope down
from stars to basins hollowed out
by passing time
in stone where every jaguar
who found water left
its reflection floating. And through
the pine-oak shadows
on a mountain pulling free
of gravity the free-tailed bats
flowed fast as memory
sliding down a lightning flash
with every last bone shining
through the skin stretched
on its wings.

David Chorlton is a European who became a longtime resident of Phoenix and has developed an interest in the wildlife of the West. He has a recent book with watercolors and poems featuring the local birds, The Flying Desert. Read other articles by David.