In this empty arroyo, rheumatoid river,
the memory of water is distant,
dust kicks up, smoke heavy on the horizon,
creosote prickles its ears to a hazy canopy,
the arms of praying cacti raised at hours,
an adobe, hugging the dirt,
long curving road in a disappearing canyon.
There was a dog barking, the fallen farmhouse,
bent hoop, rusted, walls tumbled inward,
footprint of some giant or a shifting plate;
back at the campus, in the artificial green fields
water bugs played tag with desert birds
knife edged yucca decorated streets
with a trail of lighted red candles.
A long gray sliver led north and south,
lines traced in yellows and whites,
barrels filled with sand like dams
guiding the rushing traffic, careering
one or two at a time, three in a rush
abandoned construction equipment left
like the Forum trussed up for Theodoric.