On the spined arms of Joshua trees, the night
birds flip their side to side heads like bolts.
The panel of sky lit as though by one stray
beam through cracked curtains. When Yael drove
the tent peg through the temple of the general’s body—
did it matter what happened before, now that it was
done? The tent saw everything. It always does.
We pass back and forth across desert as simply
as a lemon changing hands. Each memory a hard
stone’s throw across the water, to prove you’ve still
got an arm. The tent rounds over us as (somewhere)
the forest drapes rain on its back. Bags double-zipped,
we light the little match again, which has nowhere
to go, which can only serve to bring the tent down.
Kate Partridge is the author of the poetry collection Ends of the Earth (University of Alaska Press, 2017), and her poems have appeared in FIELD, Yale Review, Pleiades, Blackbird, Colorado Review, and other journals. She received her MFA from George Mason University, she is currently a doctoral fellow in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California.