David Chorlton came to Arizona from Europe in 1978 and began getting to know the desert. The natural world gradually came to be a major interest for him in writing and features especially in his Waiting for the Quetzal (March Street Press) 2006, & The Porous Desert (FutureCycle Press) 2007. He lives in Phoenix and gets out into the Arizona landscape whenever he can.
The jaguar is missing from the wind
that sweeps the grasses low
and turns cottonwood leaves
along the river where it came to drink beneath
a full moon on nights
overflowing silver with scented trails
leading off into brush.
are missing from the mud
where after the rains they were printed
with authority and left to harden
for a season until the next
storm washed them out.
The pelt is missing
from the skeleton from which
the bones are falling away and the stealth
is missing from its walk.
In the wake
of the jaguar’s disappearance even
the tooth by which the sky
bit into the Earth