john mannone

The Lizard Wind

(after a Blackfoot legend:
tobacco was given to us
by the one who made us.

The lazy man planted
no tobacco. In secret,
he took the medicine
man’s. Others prayed
no mercy for the thief
— only for the lizard
to appear quickly to him
in dreams.


There is a smell
of rain in the air:
leathery & moist.
The desert slithers
under torn clouds,
the prickly cactus
full of blood red
juice. It’s not safe
to lurk in the dark,
even though monsters
are only full of sand,
their windy shadows
are full of teeth.


I see the moon shadowchaser
aim its arrow to where my lunate
heart was. And the moondrop
gauge to catch the spray of light.
Even the swish of air pressing
the moon-ometer might foretell
whether the lady on the moon
will come out of hiding or not.
I didn’t really mean to scare her
to the dark side.

John C. Mannone has been nominated three times for the Pushcart. Recent work appears in Conclave, Magnapoets, The Medulla Review, Rose & Thorn Journal, Hinchas de Poesía. He is the poetry editor for Silver Blade, an adjunct professor of physics in east Tennessee and serves as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Visit The Art of Poetry: