Works Online : Salt Crusted on Automotive Glass

Salt Crusted on Automotive Glass
by William Shunn

Originally published in Sunstone, February 1994

Between me, safe in my seat on this bus,
And the decadent majesty of the salmon-red cliffs of eastern Utah,
A ghost landscape stands sentinel,
As if etched into the glass by a cadre of capering goblins.
The residue of a hasty window washing—
Loops and whorls of dirt left untouched, uncleansed,
Unrepentent, at the bottom of the glass on each fluid upstroke—
It sparkles, gritty and salt-sharp in the oblique sunlight,
Like a series of pearly solar flares,
Or a graph of the desert's pulsebeat,
Or spectral negatives of a washed-out sandstone arch,
Photographed in stages over eons of time—
Snapshots from a child-god's flip-book—
Frothing, leaping, peaking, then falling back into the ground
Like fountains of earth,
A time-lapse planetary signature
That will melt and return to dust
With the next unlikely rain.

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