from “notes on physiognomy”

joshua tree in black and white

i hung my heart from the stiff arms of a joshua tree
to dry in the mojave sun.
the veins tightened and cracked,
muscle fibers stiffened and swung
ever so slightly in the rarefied desert air,
paling, and against the blue blue of the sky
it grew beautiful for a moment,
beautiful as all the poetry in the world.

dangerous

i have this habit
of uncomfortable truths,
wear it over my day clothes
with a crown of cactus blooms so
as with the desert or a novice no
one can get close
enough to discover
the possibility of my
beauty without
risk of heat
stroke or eternal
damnation.