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Night Magic
by Ed Bennett

There is a breeze tonight
breaking the afternoon heat,
smoothing the dusk to comfort
as the desert sky fills
with its unique astronomy.

On the coast, those nights when
the clouds did not decree obscurity,
the sky was Greek,
full of wandering gods, hunters,
maidens and a thousand beasts
each with a story told incessantly
in poetry and religious practice
yet no longer preached
in their crumbling temples
left for the tourists.

This is an Anasazi sky,
black as doom, clear as hope,
each star a season's omen,
the moon a timepiece
parsing the end of days
by the camp fires
and half full bellies
of the desert clans.

I hear Puccini's overture
coming from my bedroom window
lulling my wife to sleep.
She means well as the maestro
weaves his beauty softly
around a Parisian garrett,
so out of place and time
on the cooling Mojave sand.

I tune it out, listening for
drums that know no silence,
focus on the lost rhythms
like a dog listening
to an unheard sound,
restless and alert,
sensing the life in every shadow.

There is no wine dark sea
to bathe Joshua trees and cholla
and the souls of fallen gods
lie inert beneath their marble.

I sit beneath an older sky
blessed by the same breeze
that brought a prayer
to the Old Ones' lips,
that journeys above
the eternity of a desert:

the drums beat
the moon sets
the Old Ones whisper
magic in my ears.
Night Magic


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