It's Good to be Great
For the great-tailed grackle, life
is mostly worth crowing about

A Happening Place
Mikey's Place in Las Cruces is
an incubator for the arts

Water Rights and Wrongs
Myth vs. fact: AWSA and
the Gila River

Writing Contest Winners

Middle of Nowhere
Our Grand Prize-winning short story

Garden Scraps
When it doesn't rain, write poetry

Thor's Hammer
Had the Vikings paid a visit
to Southwest New Mexico?

Critters in the Henhouse
Raising chickens in the
critter-filled Southwest

Blackout at the Not-So-OK Corral
When four bars
beats four aces

Columns and Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Henry Lightcap's Journal
The Starry Dome
Talking Horses
Ramblin' Outdoors
Guides to Go
Southwest Gardener
Continental Divide

Special Sections

40 Days & 40 Nights
The To-Do List

Red or Green

La Posta
Dining Guide
Table Talk

Arts Exposure

Arts Scene
Gallery Guide

About the cover

  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e September 2011

In a year of drought and wildfires, it's only appropriate that among our 2011 finalists is a poem about "the big droughts that we had to cyclically endure." contest

Garden Scraps

by Bill Voyce


January was green not white.

February and March were much the same.

Standing on the frontier of spring, the great wall of our annual Easter Storm was breached by the silent army of drought.

April, May and June were barbarian blue,

Routing the defending remnant of moisture from the grass and trees,

Wicking reserves from below in such numbers

That the soil fell open to the Mongol wind.

In our amphitheater of ponderosa,

Isolated straw heads signal the surrender of a great tree,

Spent in the siege for precious vapor,

While open water was carried as fugitives into the marauding sky,

Leaving undrinkable dust

To nourish those that the wind could not dispossess in full.

July, August and September draw hope along the razor of expectation,

With scattered overtures of reconciliation that flower then fall back.

In its retreating warmth, autumn sweeps the restless sky once more,

Carrying hope for a season to some distant quarantine,

As December's chill advances on the field to extinguish what remains.

How do you drink the dust and eat hollow insects?

How do you raise arms in defense of the earth against a synaptic sky,

Attacking with an arsenal of abstinence?

Life under siege never restrains motherhood in ignorance,

But rather threads its fragments with opportunity.

Birds, squirrels, ravens, elk and rodents drink from my well.

Eat garden scraps and thieve the dogs' dinner in broad daylight.

Life in our meadow is dry, not disconnected.

The great battle of Heaven and Earth is no battle at all.

We choose the eyes of war.

Girding truth in an armor of confusion,

Hammered from our suspicion

To seed the real drought in our hearts,

And withhold life's sublime communion.




Last year's Grand Prize Winner for his poem, "Llamas in a Summer Meadow," Bill Voyce now lives near Pinos Altos. His poetry, he says, was inspired by "our 20 years of living on the Hopi Rez and our little ranch along the Mogollon Rim."