Two Poems By Sally Van Doren

Roadside Condo Unit # 4

They drive by me in the night.
I hear the rush of rubber
against the asphalt.

With each unpredictable acceleration
my thoughts ignite. The calm
and stillness I need from this

mountain valley disappear
when the motors blast
through the dark, spewing

their corrupting exhalations.
I vibrate with the earth
until they have passed.

Towards midnight,
their intrusions dwindle
and cease.

I awake the next morning
prepared to spend the day
disarming their rumbling trespass.

On Belay

We climbed up the rock face,
fear complicating the already delicate
balance between toe and fingertip.

The coyote loped below,
dismissive of the thrill
of higher altitudes.

The sidewinder slept
on the other side
of Turtle Rock today.

With harness, helmet and green shoe lace,
we found bomber holds for our feet,
dug our fingers into the cracks and did not fall.

The granite left its bite
on Sarah's knees
and Sam's thumb.

Amanda belayed John who belayed Adam.
Wendy belayed Charlie. Pat guided us
with skill and ease.

And from the ledge we turned and saw,
our noses brushing past the rope,
the valley of the high desert

and the sky and the rock
and the Joshua Tree,
home to the yucca night lizard,

guardian of Lost Horse Mine,
marker of this territory,
signpost to daring and stillness.

Sally Van Doren