The Valley
Angie Crea O'Neal

The Valley

     Matthew 7:26

There never was a marriage. Only
a pack of coyotes bunking in the

foothills behind our house, taking
housecats into brittlebush, pools

tepid as bathwater. There were
mountains shaped like camel humps

made of rocks the color of Mars.
There were rings of desert lavender

to repel scorpions around a house
made of stucco, which is made

of sand that would descend like a hell of
bricks during a haboob. There were cactus wrens

making homes in hard places while we
walked the canals at sunset.

There never really was a marriage,
only long walks on canals lined with

saguaros while rock pigeons made nests
in the attic and coyotes nosed the

foothills behind houses made of sand.
Not a marriage, just snow-capped mountains

glinting in the distance like a mirage.
Just the miracle of walks along desert canals

full of melted snow. Walks in the valley, the
place where all the rivers go.

Angie Crea O'Neal

has contributed to Sycamore Review, The Christian Century, The Windhover, and other journals. Her first full-length collection, This Persistent Gravity, will be published later this year by Finishing Line Press. She teaches English at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, where she lives with her teenage daughters and three dogs.