Jude Deason is the author of Tin Cup and The Turn that Tightens. Her poetry has appeared in Willow Springs, Cold Mountain Review, River Styx, Briar Cliff Review, and more. She is, by profession, a licensed clinical social worker. In 2006, she moved from Chicago to a remote ranch in northern New Mexico, where she began to devote herself to writing. She now makes her home in Santa Fe.
Live in the desert long enough,
and there’ll come a time for hose-flows
beneath your apricot tree
and high-toned buzzes in your ear at dusk.
For the porch fan aimed right at you
and the winged fruit of the muddy puddles
You’ll dream of Jane’s chickens.
Ah, the darlings. Their darting beauty beaks.
And evenings of lakes.
And plates with blue scalloped edges.
I plan to plant Russian Sage—
feathered green, purple glorious
along the lane to the barn.
But the pounded ground rejects the shovel.
The horse lays bare the pasture. The snake
rickrack-slithers on the rock silt of the desolate river.
Deserts are hard, my sister tells me.
I tell her the nights crack wide and clear—
Andromeda wide, blizzard of light,
mane whipped, nostril flared,
my boots-off body dropped on a cot
under the buckshot of the Milky Way.
What came could not be called rain,
but a whipping, a walloping, a voltage of spears.
And the tire-tread wound became a puddle, and the puddle
raised a lake, and through its center raged a river,
and the woman in the Jeep (who wanted so to go home)
found herself this side of the gully washer, far from the small adobe
with the mountain lion tracks out back, and the red cliffs
and the romance of no generator.
She found herself far from the house that held now, only him.
On the far side of the gully. Past the vanished crossing.
Far down the red mud road