Come Feast

As published in Little Patuxent Review Winter 2024

Wound round the lithe trunk of a smooth sumac sapling,

wild sweet pea stands pert and purple on its tendrils

despite sun poured thick as candle wax spattering the leaves.

I wilt in the swelter, draped on the trellis of my own 

weathered bones, limbs woven like wood lath, braced as 

I bend to examine yet another fuchsia bud splaying

doe-eared petals to the valley’s flood of June heat,

to the sheer gloss of a creek run thin as sandfly wings—

like the one alighting on my shin with needling glee

to drink again and again. How can I begrudge him this

when I crouch here rapturous at the sight of bees siphoning their

own nectarous meal from the vein-thin stamens of sweet pea.

I know what it is to be hungry. Why else would I remain

sweat-slicked, bitten, and itching if not starving for

this feast of color and light, the sun-warped sky

unerringly blue like a glass cloche cupping the land,

the high desert's delicacies so nakedly displayed,

irresistible as my bare skin; come, let's all have a taste.