out here the desert is quiet as the snow
that fell in the night by the door of our home
our home in wisconsin, walls made of skin
here icicles hang in my mind from saguaro limbs

what ax did I lay at the foot of this cactus?
what curtain I hung twixt your room and mine?

o, amelia

mesquite in the evening, sap pulsing out
and the aloe’s aflame, a ghostly orange blossoming now
I hear the music of my chest alone
I see the ghostly colors of deserted, dusty homes

ain’t no sky like the desert sky after a storm
but water here ain’t what it once was, I’m told--
there once was a river, now just a wash
with a road that runs by by the name of River Rd

o, amelia

geographies shift but our names stay the same
we are rillito, sonora, catherine and jake
my name is a curtain to cover my bones
your name is a desert for to wander within

out here I’ve no one grand to be
I dig in the dirt; I piss on a tree
I sleep with a cat with a delicate name
before waking in darkness to do it again

o, amelia

I steeped you this song of salvia and sage
I’ve changed all the names but the people remain
I pour my libation upon the parched ground
it’s my only ablution before the desert my god

out here I’ve nowhere tall to hide
all the trees are hostile, they pierce my side
we hid behind each other, oh happiest of flaws
until we fumbled at a curtain that didn’t exist until it was drawn

o, amelia
my art was a crutch I wielded in a war
your art was a poodle you coddled in a storm
I would not be your subject; you pined to be mine
and the war became loud and the storm flashed its veins

out here the heat has drawn my face
I did not come to the desert for this
but the desert was waiting here for me
with a garden of garlic and borage leaf

there is a table laid beneath our feet
it’s a water table we tread underneath
and you can draw water from a well against the heat
and I pulse here with sap like mesquite

o, amelia
you’ve felt it too, I know--
amelia, you’ve felt it too


from desert EP, track released June 18, 2012
featuring excerpts of interviews with Farmer Emily and Farmer Jon




peter j hochstedler South Bend, Indiana

contact / help

Contact peter j hochstedler

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code