A few years ago, I saw a call for haiku about the desert experience. Having been raised in California and Utah, I was eager to submit to this anthology. My poem appears in Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga (Dos Gatos Press, 2013):
all across the valley
prayers for rain
When I was working on the submission, I found myself slipping back into my childhood and I wrote up this list. If you are also a desert flower, I’m sure you’ll relate.
Ten signs you were raised in the desert:
1) You don’t own a raincoat or umbrella, or if you do, you bought them for a special occasion.
2) When you step out of the shower, you expect to be dry before your hand hits the bath towel. Sometimes, you don’t even use a towel.
3) There was a cactus in your yard when you were growing up, or you knew someone who grew them.
4) Your mother worried that you would fall into the cactus and poke your eye out.
5) If you hear the weather forecast calling for any chance of rain, you expect to get damp, but never drenched.
6) You’ve lived through several rounds of water rationing.
7) It seems weird when servers bring out water at a restaurant without anyone asking for it.
8) You can tell the difference between smoke from a wildfire versus a fireplace by smell alone.
9) You’ve been evacuated during a wildfire or know someone who has.
10) Every place in the U.S. east of Colorado looks too green.
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