Selections: "Morning Beat"

Nonfiction by Wendy Gist

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time –

                            like to have a friend takes time.” -Georgia O’Keeffe


Buttery sunshine spreads smooth over juniper dabbed dirt. Blue heron plunges from pine fluff, skims lake green as gunpowder tea. Shores smell of moss, dead carp, of stink-bait. Light exposes an orgy of insects, glints the bustle like an unearthly galaxy of eye-level stars: black butterflies, bluebottle fly wings. Ensy-teensy helicopter dragonflies hover black and white as law books, the buzzing beauties tinkle noses, orbit human skulls. The way: Indian paintbrush, wild morning glory, New Mexico thistle, buckhorn cholla. Lichen-coated rocks dry we mount, footfall down, up, look, oh: “There’s a dragonfly orange as habanero.” Mud hen carves a V that changes to I back to M bold, dunks under green water. Vim.


Bull frogs hear our spongy steps near, trombone a warning, plop to mud puddling, slick slide against trim cattail reeds that rise high above our straw brim hats. Sacred datura’s trumpet petals close up all swirly and pearly like one-of-a-kind art blown-glass. We human hikers tuck under caterpillar tents out to black crawlies on grains dispersed in surfeit of cowboy toilet paper plants. No cell phone signals here. One must have faith in mullein to shoo evils away. Does one dare disconnect to connect? Path deviates through weeds that scratch shoulders raw, that bleeds out to a patch of stinging nettles. I’ve never seen so many prickly poppies crinkle in godly light like torn pieces of crepe wedding streamers rumpling back into yolk dank hearts. A rafter of turkeys wobbles horizontal, forms a cross.


Om obscurity. Sit. Sun-dried apricots tango breaths. Common loons settle on a Solarbee island at lake’s heart. We lay back to woodpecker poking high in a pinecone-loaded ponderosa erect. Branches reach towards a first-of-the-moon below a waiflike wave cloud lost on a jeweled turquoise sea. Mosquito sucked skin bumps itch like hell. A lizard pumps the sandstone (so many cones to hump it real good under).  Monarchs flutter, a companionship of airy bodies, over our thump thumpity heart beats. A bee gets smashed between me and thee. It’s going to be a hot day, indeed.


The way: matted fishing line, coot carcass, blue glass shards, dead Dr. Pepper can, a white family tan sprawled serene upon a Mexican serape. Faraway canoe floats two on champagne-sun-sparkling waters: a lyrical cast of lines. Nature walk comes to a halt around the rock-strewn dam of the West. Clusters of Mexican sunflowers bend at water’s edge, circles on water surface yellow, oh yellow so, orange, a channel of green. Gourd vines stretch arms to concrete curb as if tempted to tangle ankles, to yank us back into morning pulse.

Wendy Gist is the author of Moods of the Dream Fog. She’s had her poetry and prose featured in Amsterdam Quarterly, Burningword, Glint Literary Journal, Gravel, Grey Sparrow Journal, Juked, Poetry Pacific, The Lake (UK), Oyez Review, Soundings Review, Toad Suck Review, Yellow Medicine Review and many other fine journals. A native Arizonan, she now lives in New Mexico, where she serves as Co-founding Editor of Red Savina Review. Her articles, essays and columns have been seen in leading regional, national and international magazines.