DELUGE

I recall these cakes of dry earth, so tight they could barely admit the rains once they finally arrived; nearby trenches termed ‘washes,’ because that’s what happens to stormwater once it comes, as it does, unpredicted; without warning, thunderheads gathering on distant horizons, long-lost friends reconvening over variegated rosewood mountains, indigo distance, ink of twilight, luminous quarter moon, nothing but space this Mojave; gone, the Yuman and their language, all that’s left, vast and yawning, stretching lowland contemplating eternity;

Once was sea floor; then, we combed it for fossils now locked up by the Feds, regulated, and though I understand ‘why’ years later, greed and avarice, my girls need not have been admonished for plucking wonder from the ground to examine details, while in the distance, someone watching, lightning quick to the spot on which we stood, finger accusing, ‘You’re collecting!’ Threatened punishment, wide-eyed wonder, they’re just children, no harm looking, but they dropped them on that cracked ground, hot and aching, distant memories cannot banish; lost, the magic.