Deserts – A Poem

A suitcase is carried across the horizon
by a severed hand. Nothing whole
Can Journey so far.

The pain of exile is that one cannot disappear.
Even the sea has substance
And what is discarded sinks out of sight. Chained to eyes
like gentle guillotines
That seek to sever what they see.
It is not that things break, but that they never break enough.
Nothing shatters into nothing.

Deserts are measured in miles.
In the distances between
Landfills are measured in wreckage,
In the once-was and could-have-been:
In broken cups, cigarette ash, bombshells, rare earth metals,
Bread crumbs, t-shirts, teeth,
In the sudden scent of rotten eggs,
In the bags under eyes from sleeping on park benches,
In black rubber gloves, nicked fingers, windowpanes, airplane hulls, sugarcane,
In uneaten corn, and roadkill.

I do not believe in anything empty, only in sensuousness
As endless procession upon my nature.
Only heat and movement may be
This roiling world without shallows.

I would fire bullets in the earth, and beside me
capsize a shipwreck from the bottom
That would rise up, up in seafoam.
Removing what is ruined from its home,
From its corner in the blindness of the world.

I know too, that there is a city beneath water
Not too far from me. This Atlantis
in Idaho, this American Falls
Made of moss and silos,
Of footprints that come and go with floods,
Of the stone silhouettes of homes.

I am, as we all are, a refuse. I rub off
Onto wreckage. My limbs are elsewhere
Carrying the full weight of I don’t know what.
Refuge is somewhere, it is too much.


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