Share https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2018/aug/Hinton_DesertPoems.mp3I fall asleep in wind, and dream wind, horizon-wide desert wind. People say dreams reveal us to our- selves. So when Iwake I set out, wander wind-scoured mountain ridgelines, getting to know myself again. This is what it means to be human, they say: tools, language, storiesperhaps. It seems so simple. And yet what am Iwhen the eye, the mirror- deep eye empties mind of everything but a storyless white-tailed hawk banking steeply into a wild pencil-thin thermal, wingsbuffeted as it spirals up and finally vanishes intodesert sky? Traveling today I found a river somewhere inside me, wonderedhow far it wanders thereand how much sky it mirrors. All day long, wind and desertlight, I followed that river’s distances, sheddinghistories, histories, until I was nothing but river. Nearing mountains, I grewcold with snow- melt and eveningwolves drank from my currents, tasting the clarity of waterrinsing through every cell alive, always changing, always its own transparent self. The desert sees itself through many brilliant eyes, wholehistories of eyes: antelope eyes, hummingbird, fox, lizard, vulture. Itknows itself so perfectly by now, I wonderwhy it keeps talking like this? Water rinses stone steadily away, a promise it never stopsperfecting. I’m made of stone dust it long agoscoured loose, and it keeps rinsing through my every glistening cell with its elementalpromise. By now there’s nothingto it: I can return so easily to streamwater thin across bedrock, wadethere through mirrored origins. The desert never mentions arrival. Solarheat, sky, dust- light, a few parched colors—theyrinse so far through me there’s nowhereelse to go. I set out. David Hinton’s new book of poems is Desert, from which these poems are taken. Among his many books is Hunger Mountain, and more recently The Wilds of Poetry. He can be visited at davidhinton.net. Read more work by David Hinton appearing in Terrain.org, including an excerpt of Existence and translations of poetry by Li Po, Weng Wei, and Wang An-shih.Header photo by Simmons B. Buntin.