published in Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Issue 26, FEB 2021
His beard was stained straw,
smoked by desert wind & lipped
by sand. His clothes, greased,
& his dog, pale & red-rimmed,
lion eyes steered by the North star.
I watched it kick up the dust
that settled around, drag its belly
across dried green undergrowth
where the neighbor’s dog waited
with barks that echoed in ringlets
across the darkening canyon.
We were parched, & our tire was whittled
clean through by sharp silver metal.
I think the stars leapt by
that evening, pinking the edge of the sky--
& what was left of the horizon settled
around his thumbs, around the whirring drills
& unlit rooftops. What rain we needed
flashed in our limbs like cut wires
sparking in arcs. Freshwater surging
in our fingertips. How can I forget
how the birds hovered in silence,
as if waiting for the sun to set
so they could drink. How can I forget
his dog, lapping at the leftover sun
scattered on my jeans. A gorgeous
longing—& he slipped his balmy hand
into it, pulled out an answer
as if he lived it.