1. Sensitives can feel it in their headaches
and their bones, this afternoon
the color of coyotes on the loose:
the city’s set to burn.
Mothers grab their two-year-olds
—they are the shape of prey—get
in their cars and drive away.
The wind comes on like a dry drunk,
out of the desert junkyards
with one thought. This is how it starts,
child with a love letter, man with an itch,
a patch of inexplicably hot earth.
On the freeway, a tumbleweed of hair
and teeth; uterine pink insulation;
a mound of fur you could put your hand
inside for warmth; and the roadkill
palm fronds shiny as cicada
shells—the world’s agglutinative
slough, its shuck and mud and food,
effluvia and fuel.
2. Alongside this, a river: somewhere head-
waters, somewhere a mouth.
It begins with thought and ends with speech,
while the road just drains and drains, gray,
nervous miles. I drive all day under a strike surface
scratched by skywriters’ mistakes, through the city
bleeding silver like a video game,
past Nadaland, past Mojave, toward the bodies
decomposing in the quiet valleys
killers used to ranch. Behind me,
in my mind, the lurid birds of paradise
bend their orange faces toward the pool
to drink, but the pool is full
of flames, and the trees are ash shadows,
and the sky’s so dark night-blooming whites
release themselves to moths
too singed to reach them. The yellow vine
presses its wax ear against the warping glass,
and the deck chairs, pale and worked
as skeletons, somehow hold their ground.
In the Air
Jan 25, 09:50 AMPurchase or Subscribe to Slake: Los Angeles
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