A stranger’s first glance at a sandpaper land,
To the untrained eye so stark
They think our God forgot to wave His generous hand.
But go within the seeker’s slow embark:
Touch and venture forth upon the endless expansePhoto of ancient Anastazi Cliff Dwelling by Tony Laidig
And excavate where ancestral cultures fade.
Interrogate the cliff mystery’s romance
And lose your step in ruins adobe made
Hear the insistent flutter of looming raptors’ wings
Spooks lizards under rocks of ginger veil
Brings a prick to jack-rabbit springs
As roadrunners skitter to quick avail
See the honeydew and sapphire skies on copper-penny peaks subsist
Sleeping violet mantle sprinkled with heaven’s dreamy eyes
From a yawning dawn’s foggy mists
To awestruck travelers this vista lies
The scent of desert blooms wrapped in lemons tart and peaches warmPhoto of bright pink cactus bloom by Karen S. Elliott
Meadow hues blushed and painted wild
Beware the sly and patient cactus’ unforgiving thorn
Unsuspected, drawn to their scent, beguiled
The moon rises from amethyst mountain cloak
Winds howl denouncing the mesa’s plateau breeze
Arid powder of lost, wandering animals, now bones,
Summer dust awaits the overnight freeze.
Photo of moon over desert by Henry Hazboun


Karen R. Sanderson

Photo of Karen S. Elliott

Karen R. Sanderson, The Word Shark

Karen was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun. Her favorite book is the dictionary.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, writer, and grandmother. You can find her at The Word Shark website. Find her blog here. Connect with Karen on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

  • “Scenic desert landscape at sunset” by Schlomo Polonsky via BigStockPhoto
  • “Anastazi cliff dwellings” by Tony Laidig via BigStockPhoto
  • “Cactus blooming” by poem author, Karen R. Sanderson
  • “Moon rising over Arizona desert” by Henry Hazboun via BigStockPhoto
  • Author photo by Nelly Hernandez Photography
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