In addition to writing poetry, directing memoir groups, and writing stories for her grandchildren, Judith Curtis is a Master Gardner in Phoenix and a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden. She has published poems in WIZ, Irreantum, Dialogue, Segullah, Exponent II, Sunstone, and Fire in the Pasture. She is currently poetry editor for Exponent II and participated in the Mormon Women’s Writers tour in 2010 organized by Dr. Joanna Brooks and Dr. Holly Welker
applaud the wind
lost cloud ships
to toss extra weight overboard
blush green from
in spite of themselves.
To read Judith’s bio and more of her poetry on WIZ go here, here, and here.
(Boulder City, Nevada)
I did not know I was from the desert
when I moved to this hell of heat
that engulfed, stifled, weighed down leaden.
I pouted and sweltered that first summer
while sauna winds desiccated Spring bushes
into brittle skeletons whose sapped roots
cowered with reptiles under charred, rock pavement.
Then the heat gave way to a docile winter
so warm there were roses for Christmas,
robins in January, a mere dusting of snow and
I didn’t care if I was ever cold again.
I learned to worship rain when Spring erupted
through the lace of lizard trails on sand dunes
in masses of verbena and evening primrose;
bluebells and gold poppies tumbling over railroad tracks;
roadsides mottled beaver tail magenta and lupine blue,
wafting fragrance into all the crevices of town.
I walked out one afternoon to see virga
from heaped clouds in all that vast sky
and the sun setting in red fire
against hills of dusky purple-gray.
An egret up from the river flew by,
a piece of torn gauze carried on the wind,
a ragged flag of surrender;
and I knew that I was home.
To read Judith’s bio and more of her poetry here on WIZ, go here and here.
In Spring she lays her winter buckskin by,
bathes her brown skin in gentle rains
then dons a robe of filmy green.
From a hidden place in the earth
she brings her cache of jewels;
slips circlets of golden poppies round her arms,
drapes turquoise lupine about her neck,
anoints herself with scent of evening primrose,
white silver in the moonlight.
Wind, smitten by her beauty,
rushes from the west to dance with her.
He howls ancient love chants to her.
Jealous Sun hears;
he sees them whirling.
When she casts aside her robe and jewels
he forces wind away
and pours down love heat
on her tawny body.
Overcome, she lies stricken by searing rays,
cooled only by the passionate summer tears
of Sun’s longing.
Judith has been a Master Gardner and a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for twenty years. She loves the desert and often writes about it in her poetry. She has degrees from BYU, Boston University and a Creative Writing certificate from Phoenix Community College. She has had poems published in Irreantum, Dialogue, Segullah, and Exponent II. Last March she participated in a reading tour of Mormon women writers organized by Dr. Holly Welker and Dr. Joanna Brooks. She also enjoys playing duets with the birds in the backyard on her Native American flute. Judith is also the poetry editor for Exponent II. You can reach the online forum for Exponent II here.
To read another poem by Judith published on WIZ, go here.