In Fading Light
One towhee’s on the skeleton
of what used to be
a greenhouse, while its mate
sits on the paloverde’s broken limb.
The shed is losing roof tiles at each storm
and around it are the weeds
that grow fast and wither faster.
The yard disintegrates
in sympathy with the summer heat
and monsoons that first
dry and later soak
the ground and finally sweep
away whatever has no roots
with winds accelerating
every year, but towhees return
regardless of the ruin
weather leaves behind.
They come before dusk
to the shadowy green
and the roughage, with note
after plaintive note the sound
of daylight dripping through an hourglass
as they call the darkness down.
A two AM light-beam goes searching
the alleys off McDowell, probing spaces
next to trash bins, illuminating
wrappers and glass
as the pilot guides it from above.
Seen from half a mile away
it sparkles in the inky night
as it dusts its way from just behind
the library to the Thai restaurant
parking lot and back to the bridge
where homeless men are sleeping
with their sacks of no worth
kept close and safe beside them.
Someone’s on the run. We don’t
know who. Something’s happened.
We don’t know what. Fear
is in the air, and the air has cooled
to winter’s first frost.