In the poem "Chacabuco," Patrick Lane writes about a desert landscape. The title of the poem, "Chacabuco," is in fact the name of a town in the Atacama Desert. The Atacama Desert is considered the Earth's driest desert. In the poem, Lane describes the landscape as hard, arid, and remote, and he uses vocabulary like "grave," "scours," bones," "stump," and "desiccated" to do so. Words like "grave" and "desiccated" also connote death, suggesting that this desert landscape is a place of death. This is apt given that Lane also describes this landscape as showing signs of a previous life, which once existed there but is now long gone or dead. In the first line of the poem, he describes a "stone sherd," meaning a piece of clay which is often found at the site of an archeological dig. He also describes a "broken arrowhead among the remains of a condor."
In the poem "In the Dry Hills West of Hermosillo," Lane describes the hills outside of a city in Mexico. These hills are populated by cacti, owls, and moths. Like the landscape described in "Chacabuco," the landscape described in this poem is also dry, barren, and remote. Lane describes the "pale flowers of the saguaro" cactus trees. Other than these cacti and the flowers which grow on them, there seems to be nothing else growing from the earth. The hills are "dry." There is, however, some other life in this landscape, in the form of the "owls" and the "Sphinx moths." The references to these animals suggest that the landscape is being seen at night, and this impression is indeed confirmed when the speaker describes the "silver blade of the moon."