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  • by Janet St. John

Art & Soul Short #37

Houghton Cranford Smith (American, Arlington, New Jersey 1887–1983 New York, New York). ca. 1920. Oil on canvas. H. 8, W. 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm.) © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum open access.

Desert Walk

You must be careful.

You must watch out

for a snake or a stone.

Tread lightly. Bask

in your surroundings.

Pale green chamisa stalks,

dark branched cholla,

silver-grey apache plume.

Be sure to look down.

Keep a steady footfall

as the ground drops and rises,

shifts its sandy soil

beneath your well-treaded soles.

Take each step with confidence.

Look around. Admire the scene,

but locate yourself.

Know where you are,

where you are going.

At least that, at least

where you are headed.

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