To a Joshua Tree

I watch you flare up from the Mojave backdrop,
obstreperous, a lyric of exploding tar—
bold and unpredictable after legions of vernacular,
tawdry scrub pine. I am taken aback,

dazed by a temperamental tremor
of branches flung across the desert's spine.
High limbs swirl into vivid saxophones.
A tree that plays on being a tree, an impostor

among the true believers, you are all asymmetry
and wild trumpets of spiked hair unloosed at noon,
the disorder of a jazz riff, a July blizzard.
I love your crazed charm, a madman raving at sky.
An old world prophet, you brandish a vision
as the world's traffic turns its back, glides onward

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