Even lizards hide from this scorched heat.
Tristram’s grackles pant in the shade of skeletal acacia.
Fan-tail ravens float on rising currents like vultures.
David hid from Saul in the strongholds of En Gedi;
along the wadi now named for him, waterfalls
drop warm water onto maidenhair ferns into tepid pools.
Any stippled shade provides shelter from the scathing sun
when hiding from midday heat or close pursuit:
Tristram and Iseult, David, seek shade, ferns, sparkling droplets.
We escape, fugitives from kings
into what little shade we find, wade
into green puddles of desert water,
for brief respite, solace,
a bright glimmer sliding down
an eroding rock face.
This poem originally appeared in Michael Dickel’s book, Midwest / Mid-East and is published here with the poet’s permission.