Two riders enter

over the low dunes, straying as aimless ants might.

They dot lightly the dune’s sensuous contours,

Seeming to crawl over them with pendulous steadfastness.

Snug pack saddles clinging to snake-like muscles,

They seemed to possess some kind of ancient knowledge,

as if at any moment they would paint in the sands

runic codes with subtle glances

To ensure they were unseen entering the portal of their true realm.

But they continued to breathe in low, disgruntled gusts instead.

Traversing north over the rolling cusps toward the village,

One lets out a few exasperated snorts as horses do.

He eyes the sandy depressions circling behind them,

hooves dissolving a few inches as they trudge.

The other’s stomach sounds like a disheartened Sonoran toad,

But when he squints his eyes slightly, it makes the earth

Into a savory nest of hay and oats.


Messengers in the night,

They move over the quilted waves of shifting shadows in the open.

And it might just, the desert, appear to be a tapestry,

A linen of gradients sewn with invisible thread,

And they the embroidered inhabitants.

As water fills its fixture with ease,

the sky never fails to satiate,

To gorge the glens, the drifting channels

where the gloom can mend.

And If you’re paying attention, you’ll spot the jig-saw around them

how the shades come complete inside their frame on their daily course.

but these knights know not whereabouts the tumbleweeds lay,

The laws of the poppies and the intentions of weathered trees,

Just their orders.


They enter the village,

deserted, tired,

Like the final parched fronds of Autumn before they give way to gravity.

The houses carved into the hills are barren,

Only the things of the lepers left―broken stoneware, smashed furniture

Everyone was missing, as if the families had been lined up,

Led on a pilgrimage or, perhaps, taken hostage by captors.

They round a corner toward the village center, the ruling shrine.

There are agents in black and the townspeople lined up on their knees, cowering.

The operatives were waiting and approach slowly with serpent eyes,

A few with crossbows aimed for the riders’ throats

And one, the most vigorous and burly,

Extended a gloved hand toward their satchels as if he held all the world’s power in his palm,

but then as sudden as the winds changed the sand drifts around the village,

he shrank back in horror and confusion, dumbfounded,

As the stallions took flight and emitted a series of fatal spells.


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