he swears that the desert is laughing,
mocking him with the distant wail of the wind,
the hoot of an owl.
each spray of dry sand in his eyes is a personal affront.
he’s pretty sure psychologists would have a different opinion,
something to say about the hypothesis that the very earth has turned against him.
he knows it isn’t true but there’s something less lonely
when he imagines that the coyote is laughing at him,
specificity is lacking too, in the desert.
the wind and sand and sun shift and hiss and whisper amongst themselves
and it’s like high school all over again, the isolation
except this time it might actually kill him.
the lizard skitters across the rock and freezes,
just inches between them—
“How’s it going?”
—the tail twitches
like a half-wave and a locker slam
and then it’s gone, the sand rustles
and swallows it up.
but the wind swallows that too,
just to spite him.
The featured image accompanying this piece, entitled ‘Empty Nest’, has been used with the permission of artist, Robert Alan, a mixed media artist from New York City.