Desert Prognosis

by Will Falk

Wrapped in the dark blanket of night,
huddled and feverish with cosmic infections,
either I’m shaking or the sky is.

I look to the heavens with so many wishes.
But, there are only so many shooting stars.

The last star is erratic, bouncing off her sisters
before she tails away and burns out.

Witnessing this, I find it easy to confuse
planes with proper prayers
and machines with meaningful magic.

When the smoke runs out,
and I have nowhere left to go,
I retreat into sleep,
the cheapest anesthetic available to me.

The moon rises but she is too bright for sleep.
Finding me awake, she attempts to explain it all to me.

The fullness of her pale light
cannot pierce the dense ignorance of my darkness,
so she sighs, and pulls the clouds across her face.

Then the coyotes begin.
One sings, one whines, one laughs and one
is on the scent of the way on.

I hear but I can’t remember how to listen.
It’s not the cold, but my own deafness
that causes me to shiver.

Just when I’m about to add
the loss of language to the list of my afflictions,
a nighthawk’s wing brushes the tears from my cheeks,
and I know the birds, at least, will cry with me.

Photo by Max Wilbert.