For this time being, she swept dirt away from dirt and from cactus and captured the memory of a small home made of partially buried lava rock and desert rain weeds. She swept Earth away from itself, angrily debating existence. And it was comfortable.
She wanted to sit and invite a sister and a mother to laugh and admire her desert. Without a roof. Without water. Without time. She wanted to stay and wait for a summer moon to smile at her with pride, with knowing.
And night came, but the desert never becomes cold. Coyotes came to practice midnight and bury sharp hunger through the necks of jack rabbits. The universe came to cover her head and remind her of tin roofs and frail wood spines of old women that shriek with each step she steps.
How cold the desert becomes in that small house.
Elvis is alive. Fact or fiction. Electric theory travels across a nation. She meets guitars and drums and sex and drugs. She is seventeen wild in a broken city. She is chained to an old lamp-post that jolts to life at sunset. Her lungs are clogged. Smog takes over. She inhales a damp determination for life that doesn’t smell like rot.
I meet her at twenty two and Newport Beach. Carpet stained by black top walks and coffee. It’s an LA Times kind of morning. Knit tops cover immodest mannequins waving to her from window cages. He head hangs to her knees. Cracks in the sidewalk taunt her. She is guilty and broken. She doesn’t speak or mimic or cry, but she can hear intent. I give her symbols. Ice. Shadow. Flight.
She chooses to choke.
Summer leaves her. I leave her in an hourglass. Her slim smile leaks through the sand. Time is running out.
She starts talking to the desert. A language I can’t understand. Ink leaks from eyes to her young lips. She tastes words for the first time. I stop to watch. She is thick with rage. We are intense and struggling. Our muscles melt together with neurons and we know each other. We are scared.
We see doctors and pills and whiskey and we time it just right so that our bodies do not fail. And we buy reviews and our way into a new way. Oranges explode and we drink fruit rinds. And I miss her when she is not there. We discover each other but we do not know. What is truth? Where does it begin and with who? We softly debate existence and beg for an out. Shamefully we beg for an out.
And here we are. In the middle of the Earth. Gravity. Cells. DNA. Still so unsure. Still begging for an out…
until we step into his driveway at midnight. Our hearts shake. His sharp hunger examines our every layer. One hand behind our neck. We stop breathing. We are out.