The Second Desert

by David Richards

The rocks talk back and if you listen
you hear time in empty spaces
above the trail and millions of years
washed from the skyways. It’s hard
to imagine another moment
behind this heat, behind the spiny
and venomous, or comfort in a world
too dry for puddles that seep
into thin places where lacy
roots or lizards sip—that water
wasn’t for you, not yet,  in a thousand years
a garden grows on the cliff face. This is not
the desert at highway speeds, or found
in a day’s hike between fast food
and Monday. That desert’s a billboard;
this one holds whatever I bring—
thin exceptions. I belong here
and what I bring I find.

David Richards is a writer and software developer. He lives with his family in the Utah desert. His work appears or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Nurture, UCity Review, and Indianapolis Review. You can find him online at

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