River of Road


Alone with my thoughts on a river of road, I witness fantastical visions in the landscape:

mounds of bristled rock that look like nothing so much as packs of giant pachyderms, sleeping together comfortably in piles scattered loosely across the canyon

a wrinkled ridge with melting folded skin like a sharpei puppy contentedly stretched across its mother’s back in delicious senseless slumber

a mysterious plant, not quite a cactus and not yet palm, with darkly vibrant green spikes standing out from its startled head like a cat caught in shocked surprise

it propagates by casting a single stalk up, up, as tall as itself–taller sometimes–with seed pods grown so large and heavy that the stalk finally folds under its own weight, throwing the seed-heads onto the desert floor, the now-tiring plant leaning on the slender stalk like an arm or a prop-post, the shocked spikes now fading to golden brown and then to grey, more closely resembling the dreadlocks of an aging surfer, the crumbling plant’s only hope for survival the seeds it has cast before it.

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