Meditations on My Father I: Desert Sunset
by Leah Plath
Desert sun sets burning red on rock and sand,First Place WinnerThird Place Winner
melting crimson, heat glazing his cheekbones.
Does he feel its warmth anew, now, knowing
(because he does know)
few sunsets are left to him?
A wondrous pink sky, thin cloudwisps
shadowed purple, gold-lit from underneath.
From the valley, the mountains wrap brown harsh-rasp stone arms
enclosing, protecting, reaching around him.
The dusk air hums, sunwarmed,
simmering over the rooftop
where he sits, leaning back,
speckled hands closed gingerly around the chair arms,
translucent skin and fine bird bones.
But he is not really this frail image that hollows out my heart.
He is the rushing roaring river,
a deep-throated laugh tumbling across rocks, white-flecked
foam spray, or the desert wind rushing dry
past cactus flowers,
whispering crimson sun dusk promises,
a force eternal.
In the red lightwash of sunset, the colors seep into his bones
like dye, blood running with rich ochre, mauve, and bronze.
In the humming dusk, he closes his eyes and listens
to the stars.