It felt like waiting for condensation to run
the air toffee thick wanting wind.
Sweating, peeling apart shirt-skins from my back
I show you my goosebumps and you touch
calling the heat prickly, the sunsets cotton candy.
I memorize your bent back, scraped knees.
You always had a project;
extracting the guts of a toy, a microwave
making the most of the things washed up
on our desert shores
trash treasures frankensteined together.
Things were always breaking down around here.
We ride our bikes all over town
using pocket money to buy paletas
waiting for the moon to arrive.
Casino billboards invite anyone to stop here.
We go howling through the arroyo
our voices over and into the hot wind
blowing across our freeway-quilted desert.
Cars pass the billboards but don’t turn back.
We peek in the plastic-wrapped windows
of new houses built for people not from here;
people bold enough to trade traffic and Starbucks
for monsoon rains and quaking aspens.
They concrete the ditches that line their land
and when the rains bring soft, vulnerable water
it flows straight forever, unable to cut its own path.
Money can rewrite nature, bulldoze the past.
Money is the balloon that brought a man to Oz
and named him a wizard.
We wait, watching roadrunners,
building a second sun from our joy,
divining our adulthood from the purple sky.
The wind blows golden over the broken things,
the unfinished projects.