Five Moons


by Suzanne Roberts

“To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality.”
— Paul Shepard

1.
Even the dead become art—
nothing here needs burial, not
the bone tree, nor metal magnolias
blooming. Not the skin of dust.

It’s the earth that’s a shadow.
A pint is a pound, the world
round defies meaning here—
We slant into a waterless horizon.

And the horses say, cloppity clop.
The moon, a gnome’s ass.
Nothing is as it seems.
Everything is as it seems.

2.
The question mark
of a collar bone,
the flash under skin,
thin and tight like a tent.

Dust soaks our eyes.
Without the usual
borders, gravity
has pulled from us
even our names.

3.
Drift on a lifeboat,
a submarine, a magic carpet.
The sun rises, red and ripe

like a plum. We sit together,
pass the blue bottle. The beat
of a distant drum echoes

across the ancient lake bed,
the pink glow burns mirthless
in our eyes. How I’ve grown
afraid of myself.

4.
Temples are always
constructed from wood

and from pain. Words
turn to fire, then ash

and smoke. Again,
dawn evaporates the stars.

5.
The scorched sea stretches
into the perpetual near-dawn sky.

Here are the rules: The world
eventually folds in on itself,

like any other world,
and disappears. No matter,

the dust still clings to our hair.

About the author: Tales From The Playa

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

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