Arizona was a dry attic we broke

into. You told me how we entered in a window

splitting under the weight of sunlight,

how the crack closed and opened like lips. You told me

I could put my finger on any crevice and feel

shadows of coyotes and quartz slip

into my fingerprints. You said,

“Even the sand reflects turquoise.”


I was there, with my pick

and my shovel, jogging Sherman Alexie

and this is what it means over asphalt where animals kept licking,

eyes hard like the petrified wood we searched for,

our hands dusted, the scorpion tattoo on your back moving

beneath the sunlight, mirage. We sang tongues across tongues,

sipped copper stars, trying to capture the absence

of blue fields in a documentary about Apache trout.

I remember thumb wrestling for the last travel


sized toothbrush, our canteen leaking, mint toothpaste

sludge on the inside of my cheek. The horizon

was always a sterling knife over a flame, all reflection

and bleeding and premonition. You were the real painted desert,

poured cowboy aesthetics into broken glasses, and I was thinking of wire

and string. Knots and twine. I said, “There. Over there,”

pointed, only to move and find there and there

in the light revealed on your collarbone,

and shirtless, you were cracked, too, all lines

and edges, an architect of small springs we invoked

in our fights. We will agree upon the mirages,

how we listened for Geronimo and the wind

slid against our bodies, a wetness, hydration. Our postcards

pulse with sand and cacti in daylight, words like border

and canyon pinched into a space the size of a freckle.


—Mary Stone

 Mary Stone’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Thunderclap Magazine, Hobble Creek Review, Notes Magazine, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, Down in the Dirt, Mochila, and others. She received the 2011 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She lives in Lawrence, KS, where she teaches English and co-edits the Blue Island Review. She is also a reader for Gemini Magazine.