Haboob (n.) A violent sandstorm or dust storm that sweeps across deserts.

At 60, I’m given to early morning ambles, almost
like Dad in the nursing home, insisting at 4 a.m.
he had to hitch Pop’s wagon to meet the milk train.

My aquarium burbles where the black Bristlenose pleco
hovers near a rock. His dzi-bead eyes scan the tank:
nothing threatens under belly scum. On the deck,

the sere Arizona night crackles with a breeze;
I guard my cigarette. An owl pitches out of scrub pine.

The edge here is clear: expect fire in a green spike,
in sun slicing through noon, in the snake’s bite.

My small grandson’s dreams also pierce the night—
as when he grapples with a pet’s death,
or his anger with his mom spills

sudden from the dark, gathers speed in a vortex
that drops—unbidden—in a burst of sound and scenes
spun when he first broke through fright,

first tasted the intoxicating spice
of me and not. Then we stand
firm in the surge,
tight against the sting,

‘til he breathes free and whole again:
the human thing.

Dorothy DiRienzi is a writer, poet, essayist, and editor. She worked for 50 years as a manuscript editor, first in Philadelphia, PA for medical textbook publishers, and then in Tempe for Arizona State University. She has been published in numerous literary journals and was a resident at Norcroft writers retreat and Colrain Manuscript Conference, second runner-up at the Tucson Poetry Festival, and a semifinalist for the Black Lawrence Press poetry prize. DiRienzi received her MFA in Creative Writing from ASU. She lives in Phoenix.