photo: ralph murre
A Shift of Emphasis
by Mary Jo Balistreri
With dawn’s arrival, the desert landscape stretches,
its hot breath stifling as a closed attic. The cacti
in their wisdom have already licked the moisture
from the night. Wind whistles hot and hoarse,
while time hangs thirsty in the sky. A dark speck
hovers in the high washed air, watches and waits.
The desert, alive with light, sighs in silence.
The IV pole stands alone, arms lifted
as if in prayer, life-giving like the saguaro.
Light jumps and gutters, glints off hard metal
edges, brushes the sterile room in
I sit here beside you, my mind lost among
the burnt sienna canyons, caught in the burrs
and brambles of fear, dizzy with the sheer drop
should I step too close to the edge.
Your strangled breath startles both of us.
You wake, washed blue eyes confused. I touch
your cheek, run my hand over your seamed
and tired face. You cross your hands over your heart.
The chrysalis jumps in the palm of my hand,
a tiny heart beating life in its brown shell.
Outside the window, a leaf lifts in the breeze.
Dreams lap behind your closed lids. I see your mouth
move, bend down close to hear you say,
How beautiful, your mother. Blue wonder smiles
across your face. You are a young man in love
and time stands still.
~ first published in Healing Muse