On the Anza-Borrego desert floor
heat rises in cartoon clouds:
"Hotter 'n Hell!"
Ocatillo lean clutching red hankies in their claws.
A chuckwalla* scrambles for sparse shadows.
Yuccas fan out their arrays of poison-tipped blades.
The stream crossing is a delirious surprise.
Look and soak but do not sip.
Here is where the critters gather,
including flesh-eating flies,
invisible armies of them.
In the distance Sheeps Canyon shimmers:
palms and lush foliage,
pools of water, and a waterfall
cool as melted ice, cool
as melted ice.
[*fat black lizard]