We knew California would take it the hardest: losing
palm trees is never easy. No one spoke
of the redwoods. As a community, we folded
& unfolded our sweaters, packed night
bags with the last of our peaches. We waited.
We breathed but thought of it only
when smoking. Eventually, the telephone poles
couldn’t hold, & we called a desert
a desert again. No one blessed the faucets or prayed
for hailstones to halve like human eyes,
so the baptism by thistle went unnoticed. It was easier
that way—to say no one was watching.
The Nalgene bottles went fast & the flasks even
faster, but by night we rediscovered energy
for attacking prey, for avoiding tattoos & brandings,
surgical scissors, punches, & ropes. We trellised
mountains in groups, using fish bones for cairns, & when
dirt stormed over us a second time, we hoped
for locusts. Once, a woman claimed she’d seen trumpet vine
covered with golden husks in North Dakota.
We waited. But no one blessed her pocket. No one
prayed for a stranger’s empty shell.