Painted Desert

Car parts, train stops, girl strips,
squiggles on peeling blue billboard.

Light bulb white, the sun going down.

Heat shapes trip on big dust, in the
quivering space between fence and

fence: find shed skins, tail fins,
work boots, date books, love notes

pressed like pedals in margins.

Note the pause between departures,
deepening drags at deadening air.

No one gets off here.

Days and days past
in local eatery she
steps over bodies
unfinished stories
becoming the scenery.

Desperation filming over
faraway waitress: witness
some sinister transformation
from willing ear to
rounded shoulder.

Broken stones and rolling bones and
fading prints of fallen birds

make patterns in puddles and cock
tail numbers and napkin poems

of misshapen words like hints, like
glints, like extra tips she picks up.

Sex in mouth she slips away
from unknowing visitor’s gaze into
visions of open road with shimmering
tumbleweed, an invented albuquerque
where saliva means survival, inside

her spiral jets rise from
sandy mounts to freeze, blue, like
spittle in water, alphabetic sugar
sculptures, twisted in
the stillness between cactuses.