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Passing Through Truth and Consequence, NM by Kate Delany

Thoreau went into the woods

to confront the essential facts of life

but I’ve been there too many times,

too close to home, all those

distractions of lichen and moss felt,

filigree of traipsing vines and branches

to decode like loopy handwriting.

Far better in the desert to confront

the essential facts. High plains deliver

their unsparing truth: land and sky

painted side by side, adjoining

brush strokes, none of ocean’s cool

equivocation, pretending there could be

a quick rinse off then back at it. No.

The tinted rocks seem to say

there are more colors in a bruise

that you realize, each beautiful.

Enjoy them all, as one lapses

into another like the long solitary days

to come. Climbing the dunes

at White Sands the blinding gypsum

blankness was a baptism.

The world is wider than it seems

hewn down in your corner, sticky

with the sweat of your labor, birthing

a stillborn dream. Take a season at least

to exchange the faces of humans

for those of plants, animals, insects,

beings that understand their season,

adapt, do not rail against it. Desert

bighorn climb to the mesa top

with mincing steps. Consult the plateau

whiptail striped blue. It takes

its colors from the canyon. Cornered,

the lizard relinquishes a piece of itself.

It knows it will heal. You will too.


Kate Delany is the author of two books of poetry--Reading Darwin (Poets Corner Press) and Ditching (Aldridge Press). As a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness, parenting, and social justice, her work has appeared in publications such as Parents, Romper, Dismantle and The Salve. She is a columnist for CF News Today. Her poetry has been featured in such literary magazines as Barrelhouse, Jabberwock Review, Poetry Quarterly, Room, Sky Island Journal and more. She lives in Southern New Jersey with her husband Seth, two kids--Samara and Felix--and two cats--Potato Chip and Mischief. When she isn’t busy writing, she is usually reading, gardening or sewing. Read more of her work at or

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