A swift streak of color,
A silhouette in jade,
A flash of silver underneath
On all will be seen.
~Margaret Wheeler Ross (1867–1953), “Spring Styles on the Desert: The Lizard”
Saucy black plumes on copper berets
Stroll through the desert heat
Gambling on which route is safest
And betting on a jackpot of seeds.
Gila woodpeckers, red crowns bobbing
Pound their pickaxe bills
Persistently into the Palo Verde bark
Intent on finding buried treasure
An orange-headed lizard
Performs daily exercises in nature’s gym
Running from spot to spot on the circuit
And showing off his virility
With vigorous sets of pushups.
Brown and white desert cottontails
Point their radar sensors in every direction
Responding to sounds like
Distant weathervanes that move to
The slightest breath of wind
Coyotes — black-tipped tails waving -
Meet and greet with howls of delight
Complimenting each other on their
Dashing tweed coats
As they set out for a night on the town
Inspired, I shed my drab sweats and a faded t-shirt
Forage in my closet
And deck myself out in Woodpecker red,
Gambel-quail copper, and
Accented with coyote black and rabbit-tail white.
I’m now ready for my night out on the town!