Immortal Mockingbird August 23, 2023

These days I am more of a fortune-teller than a scientist
I am reading clouds, counting mockingbirds,
Tracing the hairline fractures of a sheep's jawbone looking for a sign, and
in science, everything is a sign if you listen close enough

It's easy to ridicule. It's ridiculous work.
Mausoleums of dried plants, pink-eyed guinea pigs, stones of power turning uranium to lead
The writing on the wall in frantic glyphs
The signs are there but nobody can read them, or
The signs are there but nobody will listen
For all he got wrong, Lovecraft was right about one thing
There is knowledge nobody can hold in one fist
without crying out

Persimmon stains the back of my throat
thick and chalky
while Mockingbird takes her meal outside

Meanwhile a cyclone scrapes its belly over San Diego bringing
rain from a new cardinal direction
Spring holds me in its humid mouth until late June
Over and over raking its wet tongue across the horizon
Like a stale joke, I still laugh
Each time wondering: is it over? Is it over? Is this the last time?
But I don't say it. It's not polite.
Rain is a gift no matter what direction it comes from

Somewhere in Sevilleta, my mentor’s husband brings
thousands of gallons of water to the black grama and creosote
Hand-delivered rain from the South
Standing under the blue hoses and PVC pipes it is like a fever dream
It must seem glorious to the grass but here in the desert we fugitives
never bring rain for unselfish reasons
He is asking them: what will you do when it all goes wrong?

Sevilleta wreathed in black grama; Agua Fria in wild oats
they answer back
Soundless before the great green wall, soundless the border wall,
Soundless the tub ring on the wall, that vast Colorado River wall,
Soundless the barbed wire fence, tobosa grass gone in a cow's hoofprints

The hour of the desert seems long
longer than anything that can touch it but
in this fugitive rain, I wonder.
How long do we have together, Mockingbird?
May you live forever.

Poem about climate anxiety that came to me all at once yesterday morning.