Owl, Coyote, Desert



“hoot hoo hooo-ah” calls the spotted owl
haunting the cottonwoods that edge the Santa Cruz
holy crossroads through the desert

a shadow. prowls. leaps.
pins me to the dry earth strewn with needle thorns
coyote’s tongue slips in and out, in and out
like grandmother’s needle piercing rough cloth to mend
the thin places.

my breath mingles with his earthy breath
coyote uninhibited
unrestrained he carries no shame; so alive he is
in his shagginess
with no regard for pointed looks, creased brows,
sharp words.
without seeing he sees
the bruising, my spirit broken and trampled,
he sees the footprints of resentment, authority defied.

my heavy-hearted words are considered, a remedy is offered.
the flickering tongue again
laugh girl, laugh with me
the desert offers no judgement
split open wide
spill yourself upon the desert rock and you will see.

be wild, the desert offers wild sanctuary.

do what you must do
be not afraid
I keep watch over you, desert one
my eyes pierce darkness as I watch hidden deep in the cottonwood canopy
there exists no night so black it denies my vision. nor you.

walk away from the river. this river runs dry, layers of
dust settled like bone ash pulverized sand and broken shards

there is no drink for offer here; there is no room at this inn

walk away, the desert calls beyond this place
there is drink in sacred vessels carved in slickrock,
search deep within the canyon shadow
for a place to rest. seek solace there.

I see your restlessness. go.
no longer will your desires be denied
take that first step
your longing unbinds your feet.

what is it you seek?

do not say “yes” until you have considered no.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Carrie Prentice says:

    utterly beautiful, deep and moving . . . thank you

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