To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain
I had no idea the elf owl Crept into you in the secret Of night. I have torn myself out of many bitter places In America, that seemed Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon. I wish I were the spare shadow Of the roadrunner, I wish I were The honest lover of the diamondback And the tear the tarantula weeps. I had no idea you were so tall And blond in moonlight. I got thirsty in the factories, And I hated the brutal dry suns there, So I quit. You were the shadow Of a hallway In me. I have never gone through that door, But the elf owl's face Is inside me. Saguaro, You are not one of the gods. Your green arms lower and gather me. I am an elf owl's shadow, a secret Member of your family.
From Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright. Copyright © 1992. Reprinted by permission of the literary estate of James Wright. All rights reserved.