Life Within the Desert

Cactus plant

The Coyote’s Melody

Sometimes mournfully, sometimes joyfully
Yet all the while determined—it sings
Like no other, except for itself—carrying
Hot paws, empty stomach, yet its
Soul filled with life—climbing
To reach the moon, its desert homeland
Left below and forgotten—running, running
Up to kiss the stars—never tiring, it
Does not give up—head high, eyes closed, and
Tail a’ wagging, it sings under the
Night’s incessant beauty—straight from the lips,
Its songs, its prayers, calls of love—
The language from nature’s Tower of
Babel loudly kept a secret for all
to listen for one moment, distant
yet real—the desert shall always remember
The coyote’s melody—secretly singing.

Saguaro Cactus

Standing still—yet migrating
Through its brethren—
Soldiers on watch,
Armed for protection
By nature’s needles
Yet bringing peace with
Their adorning flowers—
Inside each one life’s blood flows
Through its emerald body—
No answer to us— They
Speak only to themselves,
These emerald people of the desert—
Silent yet brave, unrelenting
Stillness brought forth—Catching
Burning sun rays and cooling moon glows
Day and night, night and day—
There they remain and thrive.

Dust Devil

Spinning, spinning, a top
That can never fall—strong
yet fragile, hot winds for a soul and
Dust for a skeleton—Faster, faster
It comes and goes, determined
And unrelenting, carrying away
Invisible dreams from
The highway, sprinkling them
Across the desert, allowing them
To sprout and take shape—
Sometimes as creatures,
Other times as spirits,
Yet all the same desert dreams
Taking shape and bringing life
Into this vast country—
Its job is now finished, and
It explodes, the skeleton falls away
But the soul spreads forth
Waiting, waiting, to spin
And spread dreams once again.


By Hillary Mitchell

Hillary Mitchell is a 24 year old African-American woman with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She wrote this miniature collection of poems to encompass three ways in which life is lived within the “unimpressive wasteland” that is the Saguaro Desert.