Road Trip Desert
I read to her from a guidebook about this area,
especially regarding Saguaro national monument
of which there existed two parts Sarah asked me where each of them were, and I told her
the East was very near the Air Force base,
the West way on the other side of Tucson.
Monday, on the way here,
we stopped at a road rest stop for lunch,
where the Kiss Road Crew was tossing around a frisbee;
they inspired us to get out the Aerobie We stood there in the desert, surrounded by Arizona sun, barefoot Laughter echoed from mountained flanks.
And later I somehow started staying even
with this silver pick-up truck,
the guys inside ending up Marines We drove side by side for a while,
Sarah talking to a skinned-head guy
covered in tattoos he’d designed himself:
an inverted ram’s head, three gaunt fingers,
an arched lion’s paw, Sandy, rainbowed disembodied wings He gave her a Zippo with an eagle motif.
Nevada’s state line stood thirty-six miles
from our disheveled brown motel room
when Sarah decided she wanted home I turned off the old Sony t.v and asked her
Why did we come this way to turn around
for twenty-three hundred miles? Eight wasted days
of traveling? Her eyes were odd, drunk from gazing
at galaxies and star charts the night before I hate brown she said Everything looks dirty She said Take me through Utah I’ve
never seen the mountains there So I drove her through steep lavender peaks dollopped with snow
to a bus stop outside of Salt Lake City
and asked her to await my postcard when it arrived in Ann Arbor I said to her Watch out for Mormons.
Saturday, the Nevada desert grew cold
outside of Carson City, the lumpy, dirt mountains large
and ominous in the dark I ate at a truck stop
to raise my spirits from abruptly riding Highway 51 alone Inside I saw other drivers, seemingly stranded like myself,
absently fingering half-emptied coffee cups, their eyes
full of black desert sky.
Previously published in The Freehand Press (Spring 1997)
Dreaming the Angel
The muscle beneath, the scar to come:
communicable, a telepathy:
his skin and nerve cannot prepare
but know it still: the injury,
the bruise beyond the sacral plate It seeks a surface Tidal, drawn
to atmospheres outside its wake—
it breaks the ligament and tears
a shape much like a crescent shell Now he walks like Israel.