Space programs/screwbean mesquite/barrel cactus
The intricacies of a desert
‘Quarter million a year’
says José Luis, carefully,
two cylinders of rolled lawn
harnessed to his flatbed.
I took them for lumber
till I saw him truck them through the car-wash
so he told me
he repeated every hundred miles.
These were destined for a county courthouse.
His son, tall strong boy,
came out the restroom, vaulted to the cab
Heat creep in metal/arrowweed/salt cedar
unfurl the turf like prayer-mats
over nothing earth
one bare step from dust.
He showed me how the sprinkler jib
rotated in its mechanism:
that small click I knew
from suburb walks at night in proper cities.
Nothing could it draw from underneath
he said, nor did the roots make purchase.
When the buyer moved out
he could roll his lawn back up
and take it with him
Mortgage payments owing/yucca/velvet mesquite
There was a lot of moving out
in evidence along our vector:
one after another, deathbed towns
whose rationale was irretrievable.
The stretch between
the bright spots in the web grew wider.
José Luis and his son spent more time each year
driving lawn to lawn.
They had a tanker-trailer
for the feed.
They both shook hands
goodbye, we overtook them
one gas station later. I believe
they drove almost in silence and such distances
Hard thoughts/tasajillo/sweet acacia
Boundary line/state line/horizon
Send Letters To:
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN
Please include name, address, and a telephone number.