Lightning in the Desert

Distant thunder, no rain in sight.
“Dry lightning,” we call those filaments
of electrical discharges in the sky.
Another flash briefly illuminates
a rickety lean-to, the blacksmith shop
in this dead mining town.

More remnants of hastily slapped
together stores and homes, now nearly
obliterated by time and climate.
Dust devils, micro-bursts, dust storms
carried fragments into the open
desert, and now shelter creepy desert creatures.

Here’s one reminder of pre-railroad
transportation:  shambles of a Wells Fargo
station that had accommodated miners
and those inevitable gamblers, or carried
gold shipments to San Francisco.

There is that leaning wooden building;
once it was a church.
Awaiting the next lightning flash,
peering through a wide crack
one might imagine seeing
a ghostly congregation of the faithful
or sinners who had come to repent and cheat
the devil.  Look again— Now you see
the huddling illegal border crossers.

A crack of thunder—or a rifle shot?
Hard to tell.  Shadows flit among the wooden
ruins, not far from Douglas, Arizona,
where members of citizen-guardsmen
patrol our border with Mexico.

More shots of various caliber guns.
Shouts in English and Spanish—more firing.
Thunder—lightning flashes.       No rain.       Silence.

I approach the church, peek inside.
One man dead; a self-appointed guardsman
lies among the debris and dust in the abode
of God—that He had vacated long ago.

image from

image from

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.