The valley sits at the corner of two mountain ranges, the golden grass tinkling as it bends with the summer wind. I can see all the way to forever and it is quiet. Fat and juicy grasshoppers bounce off my shoes and my feet take quick steps.
Under the crooked mesquite tree I see a big blue bulk. A boat. A blue boat resting in the not quite shade of a spindly tree. The plastic is sun damaged and pieces and parts litter the ground as if the boat shook itself free of ornaments before settling in it’s final resting place.
A quick check of satellite images says the boat has been here a while; the blue sticks out against the muted grass and sparse trees, like an egg in a nest. A man made landmark out of place in the desert. It’s hard to miss the blue vessel and my brain is confused by it.
The closest lake is not close. And Blue Boat is not just a fishing boat like you would launch into a little pond and row in circles, this is a ship! A ship, left to rot in the southwest desert, nothing around to explain it’s abandonment.
At night I imagine the sand pirates sail it around, floating gently on waves of grass. They do battle with herds of stinking cows and take coyotes as prisoners to swab the deck. I had a dream that showed where they bury their treasure, but no one can go there.
Soon the grasshoppers will die and the leaves will fall. Blue Boat will remain, slowly degrading back into carbon and oxygen, the holes in the hull getting bigger and bigger, and the sand pirates will have to find another ride.
wrapped in newspaper
stuffed in a suitcase
delivered to the desert
no ponds to speak of
but that July it snowed white fuzz
the little pieces peeled from the light brown stalk
expand five times their original size
And fill the backyard with tiny white seeds
thanx for sharing
Dedicated to: my peeps and Chewy
Who’s to say where the wind will take you
Who’s to know what it is will break you
I don’t know which way the wind will blow ~ U2
P ran, his hair trailing behind him in the wind. He looked over his shoulder and tripped a little on a jutting root; he picked himself up and sprinted for the field. A bruise from the day before was tender on his shin but forward he went.
Everyone else followed, squinting into the sun and tasting the peanut butter on their lips from lunch. They looked out from underneath their eyebrows to the open space filled with air and bugs and pollen and wind. Past the tree with crispy winter leaves they ran. Over dusty dirt and trash and weeds into the world they went.
P smelled like sweat and dirty socks, his clothes hung off his skinny frame with a flourish. Pumping his arms, he could feel his heart beat harder and faster and his breathe came quick. But his mind saw the plastic flitter in the sky, with a back drop of blue and white, specked with sun. He could feel the twine between his fingers and the spool un-winding farther and longer until the inevitable dive bomb that meant untangling the line from the pear trees ringing the field and digging burs out of socks and shoes.
The kids behind him were a flailing mass of brown motion; screaming and yelling things P couldn’t hear. P’s mind jutted out into conscious thought and the word Kite repeated itself over and over; he ran past the gopher skeleton without even seeing it, and ripe fruit on the trees was just a smell in the air.
Some days, P could just sit and drum his fingers on the bench, pick the dirt from under ragged nails, or bite the skin from a chapped lip. Other days the kids wouldn’t leave him alone until a game of make believe took them to invisible lands. One time all the imaginary friends fought a brutal and bloody battle from which they did not return. Today P would touch the air.
After it was over, the darkness sent them packing. The cold took them slowly back to where they had come from. A can ringing from a kick in the night and his toe aching from the impact, P trudged forward, nothing to show for the day and only a glimmer of thought for the next election.