Our hostess’ little ranch house is surrounded by cactus and the occasional Palo Verde tree. It sits in a fold of parched earth at the edge of an arroyo several miles north of Phoenix. During the monsoon season each June, the arroyo churns with racing waters. But this time of year, it’s dry, serving as a convenient highway for the critters who call the desert home. As we sit around the table on the lantern-lit covered patio at the rear of the house, the desert beyond crashes the party like a noisy dinner guest.
The first tentative note comes from a distance down the arroyo, but is soon answered by another, much closer. Our hostess has just told us that we might be visited by the local javelinas, a wild pig-like animal that frequents the area. Though nearly blind, she says with a laugh, javelinas can smell a grilling sirloin a mile away. But this is no javelina. With each passing minute, another voice is added to the chorus, surrounding us with song. Like a traveling minstrel show, the troop passes through, their music echoing over the desert. I am enchanted.
their howls a song of longing
filling the darkness
Written for dVerse Poet's Pub.