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Dust’s taste

I rub in my my hands
sagebrush’s gray leaves.

The sky overhead
a blue of well worn denim,
its air dry, my tongue thick.

The leaves’ smell wafts somehow
like the drone of buzzing hornets,
sticking to the skin of my palms.

Wiping my mouth later I taste it.
Or, I will remember its taste, bitter
on my lips, and the leaves, coarse.

But their image eludes me,
their absence leaves only the sky
of near-gone jeans and the trace
of a smell that tickles like buzzing.

And fatigue green greasewood trees,
whose limbs crumpled as I stripped them,

stretch upward to an afternoon’s
looming gray clouds.

This sky waits to spit rain,
its tense air tastes of wet dust
and crackles with thirst.

Desert sand opens to receive
what water falls, the hornets quiet
and hide in the shadow of the storm.

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