Sand is dragging rain from moonlight.
Every cactus feels the moisture. A rattler
tongues the air, and soon sneaks the water
to its heart. The old man who left us last spring
points at lightning, then they both disappear.
He’s hooked to a machine that helps him breathe.
He’s almost a number tonight, an average
that says storms fall apart on a dragon’s head,
fires steal oxygen, and creatures die gazing
at sand. He married somebody that our mother
believed was a friend. He’s breathing south
of Colorado, as if swizzling a view inside a hospital
feeds his veins. My uncle says this is punishment.
Grandma says we should be reconciled sooner
than never. Particles from a trillion stars
linger inside the curtains and the window glass.
I pretend their light feels like sand scratching
heartbeats from the waiting room I left.