In Yesterday’s Pocket

I pulled out summer
Lapping and licking the surface
To wear through the veneer of today

Desert sage scented thoughts
Reminding me of the wild thing I was
Unstructured mind with winged words
Fingering the silver fruit
Picked from the greasewood lined washes
Gathering enough to launch into dry snow

Shifting through lint
The bits of jean and pearl
A shell from when I used to follow
A leashed moon into the ocean
To taste the dark, beaded breath hummed upon my lips
Engaging in the lucid world of salted sea foam
And silky weeds laced beneath my feet

I rode the California boardwalks at night
Wishing to disappear
Gripping my place in fisted comfort
Palming granite and chipped mica
Globes of fuzzy, dusted starlight
Knowing mountain linguistics
And playful sculpted shadows

I hadn’t learned to change my colors
I was creosote after rain, a thick humid hazel
Skinning my knees on angles
Painting my soul with hues clinging
To a weighted sky

I was not
Lemon colored
Sliced into high corners
Or beach built and sun drenched
Laughing in bursts of ray and sea spray
Island scented beauties lounging in sand
Bikinis on bikes, stopping boys on skateboards

I was
Desert scented, tomboy tough
Rough you up, the mouthy kind
All grit and saturated saguaro pulp
Preparing for drought, a thorny covering to protect
My distance
Lost without mountains

I remember the feeling
As if it belonged to someone else
Sifting though the lint of seasons
The stones of faraway places
The lost and found of love and people
The ripples of time it took to
Build a resistance
To lighthouses

Until I finger the collective yarn
In yesterday’s pocket
Little discoveries
Of who I used to be
And the compasses I still follow

-S. S. Hicks


Creosote bush, aka Greasewood

26 thoughts on “In Yesterday’s Pocket

  1. Debbie

    Curious, isn’t it, how something so tiny can spark vast memories to envelop us for long amounts of time?! Beautifully said, DD — by the way, what’s the name of that desert plant? Don’t think I’ve ever seen something like it. Those flowers remind me of bunny tails!

    1. desertdweller29

      Thanks, Debbie! This is a creosote bush, sometimes called Greasewood because of their sticky leaves. This is what sparked the poem. I used to pick off the fuzzy silver balls; they were always inside my pockets. I tried to collect enough to make it snow in the desert… Oh, desperate child. This is what happens when you don’t have TV programming options! 😉

  2. thefeatheredsleep

    Jean, pearl, desert sage, moons, so much life in lint and what we carry but it is your eyes my gifted friend, able to translate so beautifully into this tour du force of landscape and thought entwined. Loved it! Third reading coming up!

      1. thefeatheredsleep

        Funny that? And how well feathers go with desert landscapes she thought….

  3. Don Royster

    Now you have me thinking about my younger days. I love that you can spin your next poem on a completely new trajectory. Wonderful images as usual. Especially “lost without mountains”. And then there’s the image of lighthouses as in the lines
    “The ripples of time it took to
    Build a resistance
    To lighthouses.”
    Made me wonder what your relationship to lighthouses was. Those lines just stick their head out, wanting another poem. Simply satisfying poem as usual.

    1. desertdweller29

      Good catch, Don. Lighthouses are all those comfortable places that beckon us into submission and stunt growth. You’re not growing if there isn’t some discomfort. It definitely could use its own poem…

  4. Becky

    LOVE this. That last stanza (stanza? verse? I don’t know the proper terminology but you know what I mean) is a perfect finish. Really speaks to me.

  5. thefeatheredsleep

    PS BTW bet you didn’t know I put your name in my latest book under ‘acknowledgements’ because I really DO acknowledge and value you and you have been a great source of inspiration and friendship to me and I wanted to thank you – well now you know!

    1. desertdweller29

      OMG! Well I’m beyond touched! I can definitely say the same about you! You are a great inspiration. You’re so prolific. I am amazed at every one of your poems and how much truth and beauty is woven to perfection. Wow! Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it… xoxo

  6. ramonawray

    You seem to reach so many – and in so many different ways too. It’s like we each hear what we need to hear, and you write for each and every one of us… Keep up the good work!

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