coachella valley girl


Always walking toward the rippling Mohave heat,
I drink a date shake, thick, through a straw,
rock to the San Andreas sway,
kick the rosy boa and sidewinder slither marks,
out of the sand, and side-step the scorpion’s curl.

Sand dunes, kit foxes, date groves,
citrus trees, locusts, all below sea level
with me. I’m a big girl,
nd this is a small desert.

painted desert


Like mummified birds under bell jars, 
chemically-preserved, sun-dried women
lie in their ephedrine dreams,
their limp, fledged bodies heavy
in the curves of lounge chairs
by the half-drained pool
of the pink stucco Jimson Motel.

Acrid sweat weighs down
gauze wrappings, all encapsulated
in cigarette smoke and ersatz
coconut scent of Bain de Soleil.
Specimens of the moment.

One brittle appendage rises,
reaching for a dented ashtray.

Lisa Stice received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She taught high school for ten years and is now a military wife who lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. Her full-length poetry collection, Uniform, is forthcoming with Aldrich Press. You can find out more about her and her publications at and