It was a camping trip in the desert – a one-off, or at least that is what one must hope it
was. It got out of hand. The drinking I mean. He got drunk and then one thing led to another.
There was a tent that gave them enough privacy, at least one would hope they didn’t groan out
in pleasure. It was uninhibited enough for their skin to mesh and do the deed. The broken bones
of fidelity on the ground, disintegrating into a warped, fast-forward until it was just dust in the
Despite the vastness, the desert hears and carries everything. The desert winds blow
every broken-down grain to its four corners and bring it back to the plot of sand where it started.
I would have liked it if he had told her. Men have a peculiar way of keeping heaviness to
themselves. Fooled by the solitude of the moment, believing the elements will carry it far and
wide and not return. Heedless enough to forget the web that nature entrusts itself with. But I
heard the whisperings first, or did I? That winter there was a fury of sandstorms; they never
happened without reason. And since my kind cannot carry heaviness, I had to tell her.
Discreetly, at first, nudging her towards the possibility. Hoping when her curiosity was piqued, he
would come clean, relieve himself of the dust that sat in the corners of his mouth, his brow. He
did not, but rather went about his day, red and proud, like the fire-body he had touched, with
only soot now covering his face, weighing his features down.
Then she noticed his comings and goings at odd hours. He blamed it on the job, on her
insistence that they come to this part of the world, but the sandstorms came again. This time,
sick of the haze, I carried her to the desert. At first she thought it was a mirage, but when we
moved towards it, the sand amplified sounds deafening us with what had happened and grains
assembled into a magnifying glass showing her that nobody escapes unscathed.
This poem appeared first on South Florida Poetry Journal.