Fragments of Southwestern Youth


Stink beetles balance


on splintered porch.

Arizona daze,

San Francisco Peaks


Dragonflies flash blue

as jelly shoes.

Chicken-egg scoop



Sunflowers arch

rock-hunked roads

through ponderosa pine.


neighbor, turquoise nuggets

machine drills, echoes.


Pine bough huts,

Sinagua potsherds,

black-on-white patterns

fragment underfoot;

daydreams dead awaken

earthen palms:

ontological monsoon.


No cell phone, no gps.

Sun out time: time-in

moon orb oozes behind

Mars Hill:


no ears ringing, no calls

from home or to home,

not in far-gone

forest of youth.



Visitor at Tsaile Lake


It’s dry as drought. A freckle-face cow startles the way, horns point tips to hip. Sun bleached tree limbs strew land all over the place like moo bones. Indian paint brush flame. Grasshoppers buzz the path, streak sand with dot lines, sashaying among piñon pine and juniper to a clearing. Clouds smile wisping turquoise sky, reflecting Tsaile Lake. Horsetails, four, dance lyrical. A pale pony, muscle-legs shades of sage, ignores, mane and tail, ink-black as raven wing shine, tendril a bellowing sky. A pitch-black horse, white splotched down its sides like a painted on saddle, skedaddles. Albino stallion, eyes lined pink, bucks. Hoofs tread coral sand amidst thickets of sea-green sagebrush: itch, itch, I itch, sneeze, wheeze. Wind blows a current to a reddish mare grazing a frenzy feed of native grass. All the wild horses I pass. Folks at lakeshore tug trout while bridal-white pelicans rise, rise. A truck of boys get stuck today–muck spins wheels, stop again, again spin, at lakes end. Navajo women in a pickup pull up, say: “Are you from around here?”



Wendy Sue Gist’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Dark Matter, New Plains Review, Oyez Review, Pif Magazine, Rio Grande Review, RipRap, The Chaffey Review, The Fourth River and Tulane Review for your consideration.

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