The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Rose Solari


Out here, the desert pours in all directions
from its center of infinite, dry love. To the east,
the blue agave surrenders its thick blades; turn north,
and the cooler air tumbles between the pines
like a running boy. In this park, you might once
have surprised your own reflection in the creek,
now only a raveling memory of where water
used to be. You prefer to look up, anyway, leaping
to ride a metal cross into the sky.

Did you practice for this
on the football field, swinging your new-muscled body
up to pull the goalposts down? Did you hurdle
the living room couch, no one at home? Now,
in this city of dust and yellow light, you work selling
incense and tin icons, spend afternoons in the park
with friends, or at least, people who dress
like you. But youíve got something over the other boys,
strumming their windy lyrics.

Surprise is part of it. First
youíre here beside us, letting the tourists gather. Then
you crouch and spring high into the thinning air.
Your whole weight catches on your clawed hands
and you hang, trembling, your face turned away
like a childís from an unwelcome adult embrace. Look,
somebody says, itís the boy who crucifies himself.
On the ground, clumps of sage scuttle by like pilgrims
toward the promise of healing water. Above us,
the clouds shift to let the pitiless sun come down.

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