An Online Literature and Art Journal

The Transverse Ranges

I spent half my life on the Transverse Ranges,
those crosswise ribs of California—a rapture,
a kind of Eden, whose mountains and valleys,
thrust from the earth’s crust, still quake
from the force of that birth. Ever contrary,
I began in the west, in sight of the sea,
and later swung east on the pendulum
of familiarity—landing in the Mojave,
like the Chemehuevi carried by Coyote
from Ocean Mother to the land of no water
in a basket, shaken out, empty.
I live among rocks whose faces shift
as I look at them, leaping spirits of lizards,
insistent spirits of mice, weathered junipers
who have seen everything twice—who await
the next sea change. Whatever transpires,
you’ll find me here, down a desert road
of old and honest dirt.


Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poetry books include In the Mojave, Shared Visions, Shared Visions II, and Desert Dweller, all available at She is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens.