Issue 223, Winter 2017
I was trying to write like an adult.
I had children.
I was at the end of something.
As I waited at my table by the window for the coffee,
I saw that the sirocco had deposited
a scrim of dust on the sill overnight,
and it was the dark red of powdered blood,
and like any of the others of my kind would have done,
I graffitied it.
In the past, I might have gone for a peace sign
or a smiley face or an ejaculating penis,
but today I scrawled my name in it
and my vocation,
leaving my fingertip ferrous with desert.
It felt like stroking suede against the nap,
half illicit, the particulates milled by wind
and sieved by the distance
to the softness of ash or brick dust.
I had been adding and subtracting
sounds from my epic on the winds
that thread the known world,
but something like a real poem surfaced
then, in the dust,
in my letters edged with tiny drifts.
What I wanted in a small thing was some
principle, some vividness
that lived both in things small and things great.
A desert is red and the dust is red
because the stones
that make it up were red.
It is the iron held within.
They share the rationale of blood.