River Rail Colby Issue
River Rail

Revelation Desert Flow, “like corn in the night”

Poetry by Samia Rahimtoola

Revelation Desert Flow


I cross into the desert that has no edge,
storm desert, desert of fences without finish,
irrigated desert, a spreading of grass differently
in the desert. Floating fences patrol the dunes
of this desert, splintered into all its strains,
exploding desert.


Outside my window a man is screaming about the desert.

He is beating a tree with one of its branches.

We lie in bed and listen for the vacancy that stalks the inside
of our city. At certain hours, a helicopter tracks the roads
behind our apartment, the roads that pass in or out from
the city adjacent to this one. You know this is not a true
coordinate, this city—it is an edge enfolded, the architecture
of a box unfolding, sometimes this city says bridge, but means
bypass, or it says company but means the wrong kind.

In the alley that is also an exit from the gas station car wash
a man is walking. You ask if it is the same man, can you see
the branch?


Along the border trains speed past infrared sensors
heat-emitted, time-stamped

& released again to the real

I can’t decide if abandonment’s impossible
or all the time now. Desert flow

Is there a sequence to feeling

What is the choreography of the sun when it smashes
us to smithereens


From the sway of my disaster I looked reeling

out at yours:
simple, radiant

the color of stone at morning (revelation
glow) nearly the sky’s color

like corn in the night

it’s the fourth of july & I’m here treading
the vacancy that broadens every thing
about the edges less like a blur than like
a seep of bursting rind you can’t steal time

today it’s free it’s the second month
of summer the air is hot full of clover,
corn what they mow they’ll turn to
count even now the fields are growing

shedding time as pollen, bits of weed that
can’t be gathered or even gleaned what can be
carted will & nothing then not even green
to fill the leaking afternoon where

what’s left after what can be taken’s held
when no thing grows but drifts a breeze
that gently open blows closed


Samia Rahimtoola

Samia Rahimtoola is a poet and critic who lives in Maine. Her poetry has appeared in Fou and Hubbub, and her criticism may be found in Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.


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