How odd to the bevy of deer floating over plains—
through dust storm pulled low across brush
cigarette smoke to the lips of wind—
my human head must have looked, sprouted near yucca and sagebrush.
I grew a long time: green in the spring, dust in summer,
lids wilted over droopy eyes in fall,
bundle of dried veins in winter. And there was magic.
High blue sky, then violent seven minutes
of storm cool and soak the sagebrush
so that when sun bakes again, the air quavers herbal.
Like shallow, gnarled roots of my neighbors,
My own spread thin under the rock-hard plain,
asked for little to grow.
I did not need spines, nor poison. My cabbage mouth filled
with coyote song, snake rattle, badger bite, yellow jacket sting.
I died once a year anyway.
Lauren Elaine Specht is a PhD student of rhetoric who likes to think, write, and procrastinate about macro- and microcosms and all kinds of relationships. Originally from a droughted dry-land farming community in the west, she lives in Knoxville where she loves to sit on the porch with cats and watch fireflies and rainfall. She has previous publications in Gender Studies and Tempered Steel.