There where Monument Valley continues
its fine erosion, the desert palms rise
to meet their children, slim fingers shot through
with reds and ochres. A diner’s tin siding flashes
like a pinky ring, the smell of frybread and diesel.
The busboy bending down under the horizon
and a plate of half-eaten meat could stab you
repeatedly. The twentieth century made this
possible, made the busboy possible,
and the bus that waits to take you home.
Your friend needles you to pay ten dollars to stand
in four states at once. Once, you imagined you were
bound to the face of a watch, outstretched
and pinwheeling. Your fingers raked against the numbers
fat with promise, their ribs, four of them,
telling you every day brings you one hand closer,
and your friend has now paid and ascends
the platform as you watch through the pitted window
red from the machinery of Monument Valley.
(Once, you held a gun in your hand
in the desert in California looking east.)
Your fingers rake the leather seat plump
as a sunset. Everything smells of frybread
and diesel. And your friend now, outstretched,
stares down not, you think, to perfect himself
in his four-state stance, but to keep from looking
up. The twentieth century made this possible.
Once, you imagined you were as pleased
as an amputee with each new finger popping up,
each new monument you thought you had made.