The Desert Has Left Her Fingerprints in the Dust on My Skin. {poetry}


Burning Man 2018 cracked my world open like a lightning storm.

Everywhere I went, I saw explosions of creative force, multidimensional mirrors, and interactive landscapes of experiential awe; I saw my own potential.

One hundred thousand people from diverse walks of life, building art, riding bikes together in the desert, surviving dust storms, and there was no war. Instead, we came together in community and care, expression and celebration, with courage to burn and cleanse the past in a desert temple and summon new life and connections through the portal of what is healed and awakened.

I have expanded outwardly as far as I have deepened inwardly, and I am humbled, transformed, and inspired.

I have found my tribe. I have tasted my essence.

The desert has left her fingerprints in the dust on my skin.


Biking across the moon
at Burning Man

A temple of infinite white
an ancient riverbed
its belly scalloped and scaled
by fossilized fish
and creatures who make pearls
in the darkness underground.

The wind is my compass
she wraps me in waves of silk
that blow like sails.
She leads me in circles
and I follow her into labyrinths
where she whispers her wisdom
in deep vibrato
that echoes through my body
each note clicking into place
unlocking my rusted gates.

Surrender to the dust
all day and all night
the white witch
sugars my skin.

Follow the silver trails
as they trace my body
like a map
revealing each crevice
where I push or pull
toward or against the grain,
where I stretch
on the bias.

The doors of the desert
open to let me in.
I turn on a kaleidoscope
of color and sound
that bleeds and blends
into one pulsing heart
spinning dust devils
blowing her song
on didgeridoo,
guiding me through wormholes
into spaces of stillness
where for one brief moment
I am held in the palm of her hand
offered a cool drink from her oasis,
and billowing with gratitude,
I spill into everything
and nothingness
all at once.


Dawn in the desert
licks the sky
with her pastel tongue.

The moon drips the last of her honey
from the tip of her scythe
into the horizon’s fold.

The pirate ships
that roam the riverbed
sail home
with their carousel horses
and their Coney Island neon,
and fade slowly
as morning consumes the night.

Here in the desert
where civilizations rise and die
leaving no trace
of their love
and their loss
totems crumble and fall
in the fire
that is speaking in tongues.

The cracks
that run along my fault lines
tremble at the seams
tear open at the scars
tender to the touch.

I am tempered
in the forge of the sun
heated and cooled
hammered and folded
over and over
until the inside of me
and the outside of me
meet and merge.

I see between the particles
to the space
that connects us all.

We are the makers
the specks that glow
in the great sea
leaving only an echo
as we sign our names in the dust,

which we too
will become.


Meredith Heller is an ageless elfin-child with a Celtic heart. A gypsy-poet philosopher with a penchant for humor and a pocketful of wisdom. A melodic priestess who weaves easily between light and dark, major and minor. A woman who thrives in nature, runs with the wolves, and delights in the wild beauty of life. A poet and singer/songwriter who is on the trails every day, teaches poetry writing to teen girls, and is mused by nature, synchronicity, and kindred souls. You could contact Meredith via her blog.


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