A Watch for Purple Shadows

Colors, too daring for blue,
embellish southwestern skies.
Clouds prepare afternoon storms
by rolling in the sun’s
brown madder dust and
spilling across the skin of the sky.
Kite-shaped shadows decorate
the mountains adopted by O’Keefe.
Illusive silver hues of sage
cast purple shadows that
underline the desert’s seductive,
subtle shades of Naples yellow
and celery-white grasses.
Fields of flowers are gamboge carpets
at the feet of juniper and pinyon
scattered over prairies and huddled
in arroyos like a sap green rash.

At the end of another dusty day,
a red adobe beckons from a peak
where thick walls insulate artists
from lip-cracking heat.
Night breezes blow across their lids
and rest dry eyes for tomorrow’s task –
the watch for purple shadows.


Betty Bell Brown

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