First Night in the Desert by Theodosia Henney
We have not yet learned to sleep close
for warmth, to pile debris and pine duff for bedding;
we are fitful, cold, hugging bare dirt,
hands folded beneath our heads.
Above, juniper branches appear liquid
in silver moonlight, spindly carved shapes
like spiders, forked tongues
of many small rivers netting the land,
a jostle of snakes or bird wings.
We have not yet learned to rise
before the sun and walk to water.
We are strange here, and lost,
still thinking we cross over
the land as a river bridge,
as though we might reach
the far bank at any moment.
We do not yet know
we are in the current, swimming.