The Deserted

Under an unforgiving sun.

Broken white lines follow interstate miles home through the valley of the sun. Before it sets, bring the telescope. Look for Jupiter and let Mars rise above a Mesa into Phoenix until they are each a distant glow in the mirror and dream of rising again. And Joshua trees keep watch. To think they guard us as we fall into ghosts of former towns from when we knew them, still living, still ours and still––

someone stands after forty miles of nothing under a tarp in the place where a porch would be and there is no way not to wonder if the waiting of so many at such distance might be stretching. Something tight like Achilles’ unblessed tendon still reaching–– 

––for the water that crossed us once a sacred chord ready to play until it pleased the long-haired keeper of the secret ways we dreamed, even if.

All the while, to anyone who asked, most of us were good enough to protest protection, saying instead, just let it. Come. We said with straight faces, meaning to mean the words.

Studio Visit

The apprentice has questions.

The young artist came to learn. She was mainly concerned with the question of how anyone does it all, especially when there weren’t even enough words. The sculptor knew you could use nail polish to patch a glaze, so there was something. Then the sculptor asked about lunch. The young artist was relieved. Here, too, were meals, and these, at least, she knew. So perhaps there was hope.


Inspired by a tidbit from Michelle Millar Fisher’s BOMB interview with Jennifer Ling Datchuk. 

The Supplicants

Shift change at the city gates.

The turning happened where we almost ended, feeling the old king’s gaze, the walls of his long sleep around him, each drowsy syllable dripping from the mouth a study in the effects of subatomic explosions. 

How long? We wondered, had been wondering. We shivered, had been shivering, naked in the shadow of the fortress. The next cold rain started a whisper among us, in the direction of concessions. What was the point? with the freeway cars above us hissing Yes. 

We could have run then. I think we almost did. But one dropped her knees to the grass and then her ear, and we followed, to hear who was coming beneath our soles to be counted, even now.

The Name

To say the word.

And you said to me, go back

and I returned where you told me

to myself, the soul’s eye looking.

The awe of it, and all of it unknown. 

But I wanted solid things in space,

a place to own. I looked long and

it was true, then. There was no place

to rest this head. 

You said the word and it left me

and I am locked away now, far

from that mother, that tongue. 

Take me back.  


Inspired by Augustine’s Confessions.