Meeting Places: Part I


gather and swell, updraft finds downdraft,
and the sun slips into the rain smell
of dark morning. On the compound
British oilmen load liquor into Land Rovers.
The road is quiet, but for the Doppler of dust,
leading or following the wake of pick-ups.

In the cloud-shade I sweat, the furnace
of hot wind dries salt lines into my arms.
The earth flattens before me and walls rise
random as crop circles, cinder blocking
parcels of land into a quilt of concrete.
I walk in shorts and sandals, despite

the broken glass, tossed from car windows,
and the curious cake of dirt and skin.
At the gas station, the oasis of a/c,
drivers never turn off their cars
as Indians pump high-octane gas,
cheaper than Pepsi, into their tanks.

I will probably not do more than this today.

In the ten minutes it took to buy smokes
the clouds melt in the noon sun
like snowflakes drifting into a lake
Every morning they appear to disappear
like the trucks lost in the heat ripples
more mirage than machine, growling

engines could be north or south,
racing their own feeble noise.
Tonight my smoke will rise to the wisps,
the last survivors of the pack, who feed
on the stars, this and every night,
gray zygotes splitting across the sky.

At home the clouds move, migrate
from one corner of the horizon
to the next, but here they die,
and I find myself wishing I could float
up to administer their last rites,
listen to the hiss and tumble
as the last tribes of cumulonimbus
are decimated by the day.

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