Making Time

Here in the desert

Making time for something

means turning to the mirabilis multiflora,

the giant four o’clock plant,

for guidance.

It’s a short hike

along gold sandstone boulders,

swirling with vermillion intrusions,

before the four o’clock stops you

in a rolling field sharp

with fishhook nipple cacti

and pencil cholla

guarding the fragile violet

four o’clock flowers.

The Zuni people powdered the root

and in a water base,

rubbed it onto the bellies

of those who suffered from hunger.

At four o’clock, to stop and eat is to miss

the most productive part of the harvest day,

but an infusion of the multiflora

massaged below the belly

makes time

keeping you focused

on what matters.

This is one secret,

but there is more.

Desert hawkmoths pollinate the multiflora.

Their caterpillars are seen as pests

ravishers of other species,

like the tender mariposa lily.

Where is the balance

between the needs of the four o’clock,

those who make time using it,

hawkmoths that fertilize it,

and lilies that are eaten by the hawkmoth?

Each group’s survival

depends on this balance

of one and all,

of tendril

and time

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