Driving through the desert, we think of the children
deciding to lie down for a rest, holding hands.
We wonder at their parents. We are driving to the river,
cool and relaxed, squinting in the early sun
despite our dark glasses. We want to touch the river,
maybe wade there, lie down in the cool water
and let ourselves be carried down river. We want to
echo our voices against the canyon walls.
We think of the children, and their parents, setting out
across the wide desert, still cool and dripping
from crossing the river. Sheep graze on the other side
as we sit in the shade of the canyon, cool
from the river though the day’s already burning
and somewhere the children are walking, holding hands,
thinking of the river, their parents and home
as they look across the desert and seem to see a river
quivering the air like a dream. We are driving,
cool and refreshed and talking of our plans
for when we get home from the desert; we are listening
to music or news of what’s happened far away
but we’re thinking of the river and the canyon, and of
the children walking slowly, holding each other
across the wide desert, alone.
Read poetry by Michael Hettich previously appearing in Terrain.org: two poems and one poem.
Header photo of the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park by Goodfreephotos_com, courtesy Pixabay.