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  • R. Gurley

Desert Routines

I arrived to the desert at the end of a year, December. This year marked by the death of woman dear to me. I don’t grieve for her. She went like she lived, eighty-two, full of grace, no suffering. I grieve her absences at the salon where she worked, a Sunday brunches where we used to sneak wine and laugh. She was one of those women all women have, a mentor, surrogate mother, a guide.

The sign that once hung in her garden now hangs over my desert bed. The sign reads:

Dirt is my Soul’s Connection to the Lord.


Her son’s drawings sit beneath these words, a son who went before her. The woman knew of terror. She combated it with routine. Her daughter told me that the day her mother died, she made sure she made her bed.


“That was always the first thing she did,” her daughter said.



I look at the mussed up sheets on my bed. Then, to the window, the first rays of day. I gather the sheets and blankets and muster what she always did. Maybe there is something to routine, I think, as I watch this year end. I will miss her. I make my bed beneath her sign.

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