San Xavier del Bac to Summerhaven

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Contributor: James Robert Rudolph

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Still as yellow as ever but
the sun swoons in January and the cold
blushes cactus plum, chilly bruises.

To summer then to green palo verde trees
bark the color of frog skin they sift
the night with bitty leaves the gauzy drape
of a modern dancer.

Spiky-headed date palms, punks
lithe or gangly carry their fruit on sticks
like hobo satchels cacao colored achy sweet
on the tooth a brown sugar chew.

Longhorn cattle dull in dry pastures of
dirty blond grass edging grapes that
suffer for the wine prayer beads of grapes
calcified by fallen bones purified in
the eye of a scourging sun.

Mt. Lemmon saguaros on its foothills arms up
a field army of surrendering Gumbies
on top a winged aerie over brown canyon
shadowed canyon to ringing mountains
erupted and holed with outlaw hideouts through
high passes hard by palisades to
a great south desert of burr and dust
with white plaster missions roseate
with martyrs’ blood, frescoes of martyrs
where old sins cauterize in the fires
of expiation and this blue burning sky.

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James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis. He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west. Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, Black Heart Magazine, and Poetry Super Highway, among others.


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