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"Worn sandstone sizzled"

Published onSep 13, 2023

Photo by Pixabay:

barren badlands scorched
sculpted buttes painted fiery palette    
sweltry, arid wind blasted
blood orange dust swirled

worn sandstone sizzled
unprotected mudstone pitted
narrow gullies carved
mesas striated with mineral pigments

desert marigolds withered
black lichen clinged
salt brush tumbled
moisture depleted

skin sunbaked, blistered
lips cracked
mouth parched
unable to utter one word

damp scent permeated
somber thunderhead threatened
momentarily hid the setting sun
lavender, gray subdued

She sank to her knees
head cocked back
eyes squeezed closed;
she waited

tongue extended
yearned for a taste
fleeting deluge
dirty tracks etched her face

one cloud breathed life
into her desert

Suzanne Cottrell is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter; Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer; and Scarred Resilience; and a hybrid book, Nature Calls Outside My Window, A Collection of Poems and Stories (Kelsay Books). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives with her husband in central, rural North Carolina. She is an outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, who enjoys reading, hiking, knitting, Pilates, and yoga. Read more about her writing journey at

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