these deserts lack the scaffolded
red-bud Judas trees
there are only Joshua trees

though they are drenched
in silver pieces of starlight

where there is no Jericho
no Serrano on Serrano sands
no Cahuilla on Cahuilla lands
no Chemehuevi anymore

the original people
who’ve lived here forever
are mostly gone now

there are only Joshua trees
who gave their wood
to settlers and to miners
to Mormon invaders
and to tourists

only gnarled Joshua trees
looking to the sky
lonely and haunting me

(Decemeber ’13)