Albuquerque

Everyone on the airplane bowed their heads and prayed, and with ears stuffed from above cloud pressure, couldn’t hear anything but God. My New Mexican friend prayed this morning at the breakfast table before eating her fruit, hands folded in lap, head bowed.

Two women complain of their eyes twitching. one woman says: I always heard it means you’re gonna see someone you haven’t seen in a long time. The person they were seeing was me, though they did not remember our lives having always been as one.

a man cried this morning, saying he knows poverty: worked since he was 8 years old. Told a story he heard on the radio:
Little boy was tossing starfishes back into the sea from a pile of thousands that had washed to shore. Two old men came by and said, little boy, your work is futile; you’ll never finish throwing back all those starfishes. Boy takes a starfish and tosses it into the sea, says, “But I saved that one.”

Hot sun here says there’s no such thing as poverty. There’s only light. Even tears and blood and sweat of 8 year old Mexican boy are made of light.

I know that New Mexico is where I belong. In the air that sucks the moisture from your skin and lips and makes sandy cracks between your fingers. The air that feels good on bare feet. The sun that feels good pressing against lower back. The air and sun that make my body become whole and muscular, that make my arms swing hollow into the concrete canal—the dry river channel with its graffiti tags and soccer balls stuck in the mud. My hands softly grip pigeons spread out in the shape of a ladder up both sides of the concrete. My shadow symbolled upon the concrete is barred by two poles I lean against, which pigeons fly out of. Big desert city spread before me, above freeways. (The air makes thought go slow above fast of freeways). I want to know every mile of Albuquerque. My only friend from here. Born from Sandia Mountain peak. Born from 10,000 feet.

I love the way voices sound here. my friend’s sister’s voice, sounding young and sweet and saying witty things over the phone: women complain about this high altitude sun drying out their skin. (The shadows are alive and sparkle here; they are the only skin not dried out by the sun). Listening to the Oklahoman ladies’ voices, like books come into light, I just want to close my eyes, offering no voice back, my voice stuck in the mud of dry river channel, stuck in the mud of the dry Rio Grande. And the way the black women smell, I want to close my eyes and lay down in their perfume.

We’re going to the Rio Grande River. We’re going to the top of Sandia Mountain. We’re going to look down on the desert and the light will be everywhere below us and the light will be moons and suns in our eyes and stars in our heads and comets in our breasts. my friend’s brother wants us to climb 5,000 feet tonight, five hours up and five hours down. Wants us to climb all night.