Forty winters soft, the hat
is too comfortable and too green
to leave for packrats or
a fox beneath the frosty stars.
First place to look
is past the cattle guard, where the view
back into the mountains
was worth the photograph, and if
to the ocotillo with tire tracks
curving two days old beside the road.
Nothing but a shrike
on a yucca stalk’s tip looking straight
across the prickly pear and tangled
then a Crissal’s thrasher
shows itself before it proves how easily
in desert. One more curve
and looking at the ground is hard
when the moment is so brilliant
with noonlight on the pinnacles ahead,
but there it is,
with nowhere to hide
on the wide open land.
David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978 when he moved from Vienna, Austria, with his wife. Born in Austria, he grew up in Manchester, close to rain and the northern English industrial zone. In his early 20s he went to live in Vienna and from there enjoyed many trips around Europe. In Arizona, he has grown ever more fascinated by the desert and its wildlife, and especially enjoys the mountain ranges of southern Arizona, a region that appears frequently in his writing, including The Lost River from Rain Mountain Press, and two Slipstream chapbook competition winners; also full length books, including A Normal Day Amazes Us from Kings Estate Press and Waiting for the Quetzal from March Street Press. As much as he loves the Southwest, he has strong memories of Vienna, and that city is the setting for his first work of fiction: The Taste of Fog, from Rain Mountain Press. The Devil’s Sonata, from FutureCycle Press, is his newest collection of poetry.