Giraffes at San Gorgonio

The moon is warm tonight, not breeze
enough to stir the vanes of the wind mills
grouped in groves of their own out beyond
the manicured lawns and stands of palms
which ring this landscaped spa oasis.

I take them first as sunflowers, basking
in a pewter glow, swinging toward
not light but the slightest waft, their roots
seeking the moisture said to seep along
the fault deep under this parched basin.

Then before me there prances among
the baobabs on the dessicated bed
of some Lake Chad a herd of giraffes,
their graceful gait stirring flocks up into
fluttering flight, the piebald quilts of their

dappled hides furling like ships’ sails,
spangles on water where there is none.
As they lope, they dream of other giraffes
inscrutable dreams I can never know
even as vaguely as I know my own.

Today you looked especially sad, pale
arms clasped to your calves. Hush, I said.
No tears here! Stop believing in the rain!
Imagine instead flowers as giraffes, baobabs

as tumbleweeds perched atop thick stalks.