Hills Of The Moon Wash

(4/15/05) I could not explain in words the spiritual energy and beauty of my favorite secret campsite in Anza-Borrego Desert. This poem captures it well. It was published in Bloomsbury Review and written by my own dear coworker, Nancy Smithwick, who works in our test item development team.

Hills Of The Moon Wash

Desert cairns mark our descent
into Hills Of The Moon Wash
above us, ocotillo
wave their red tips

along the ridge, coyote scat
brittle-bush, the scent
of creosote and sage
tiny tracks of a lizard
everything erodes here

in another time, you have
felt yourself coyote
drunk from the sheep tanks
at Pock Mountain, howled
behind your eyelids

we listen, as a plane's
jet-stream creases the sky
paint-box white, 'Borrego blue

I point out Costa's hummingbird
you explain why smoke tree
is called smoke tree
the ants burrow deeper

to find our way back
we trust the cairns, yellow poppies
closing for the night
ocotillo waving in all directions