Photo by Agustin Lautaro

Superstitious Friends

By Ann Lee Miller

From the end of my street, I see the Superstition Mountains run skyward,

Stalwart sisters, draped in haze and the color blue—

A hue I’ve never seen them wear.

After decades of daily acquaintance, their beauty still startles me.

When I drive closer and creep in a line of cars around their skirts toward Tortilla Flat,

Dust and the stinky-sock smell of creosote greet me.

Photo by Brenda Mendonca

I realize these dramatic dames, monoliths, buttes, rocky peaks, and cliffs have become

More than strangers who backdrop my air conditioned life.

I hiked their heels and knobby knees, these hard sisters, their Praying Hands.

My boots scraped dry earth atop Boulder Canyon, high over Canyon Lake.

I swam in their icy puddles—Saguaro, Canyon, and Apache Lakes—

At 117 when the Arizona Republic reported skin would fry in 10 minutes.

I’ve plodded through their sands at river bottom, floated down the Salt in an inner tube.

Counted Saguaros penciling the sky,

Stared slack-jawed at rattlers, tarantulas, pronghorn sheep, Javelina, coyotes,

Photo by Robert Murray

Wild horses, a Gila monster and a bobcat.

I basked in their silence, absent even the sound of wind in trees.

These women, so miserly with shade and the color green.

I read the petroglyphs scrawled on their walls,

These girls who friended many before me.