Sylvia Plath: Sleep in the Mojave Desert

Sleep in the Mojave Desert 

Out here there are no hearthstones,

Hot grains, simply. It is dry, dry.

And the air dangerous. Noonday acts queerly

On the mind’s eye erecting a line

Of poplars in the middle distance, the only

Object beside the mad, straight road

One can remember men and houses by.

A cool wind should inhabit these leaves

And a dew collect on them, dearer than money,

In the blue hour before sunup.

Yet they recede, untouchable as tomorrow,

Or those glittery fictions of spilt water

That glide ahead of the very thirsty.

 

 

I think of the lizards airing their tongues

In the crevice of an extremely small shadow

And the toad guarding his heart’s droplet.

The desert is white as a blind man’s eye,

Comfortless as salt. Snake and bird

Doze behind the old maskss of fury.

We swelter like firedogs in the wind.

The sun puts its cinder out. Where we lie

The heat-cracked crickets congregate

In their black armorplate and cry.

The day-moon lights up like a sorry mother,

And the crickets come creeping into our hair

To fiddle the short night away.