A Desert School Day

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The Fairy Duster

In spring
fairy dusters fall like hot snow
licking the sweetened air
measuring the hours before the bell

the pregnant buds shield their tender hearts
in a thorny embrace
repairing shattered vulnerabilities
beating and yearning, restless and righteous
the terrified demanding souls of youth
there will be no witness to their myopic movement
their unraveling pedals
they wait in secret, to be crowned in sunlight
tearing skyline like bound paper from a journal
leaving the pitch and plunge of rugged peaks
the crumpled words
tossed discards of a day
he shoots, he scores
she laughs, she hides

color pulses through the mountain veins
through the halls of locked boxes
coded combinations
filled with lust and love, shame and secrets
the far away blooms, the mass of the popped collar in-crowd
the ripe young beauty of distance
broken and wilted up close
you cannot see the damage in numbers
they hide and blend, hoping to go unnoticed
while others lay like whispers
begging for discovery, desperate to shine
late bloomers on the fringe
soft sexes beckoning birds and bees
the hit of nectar
the mid-day high

a shrill call runs through their bones
and they spill through the gates like a pack of coyotes strutting through washes
knowing the rumble of earth in the pads of their feet
a flash flood
from an unseen storm
always buried in a distant valley

tonight they will howl
tonight they will feast
and tomorrow
oh, tomorrow
they will own another day
and measure the hours before the bell
before the fall of the fairy duster

-S. S. Hicks

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