New Mexico Sea

Hot pueblo roads, adobe brick crashing two
warm bodies into sun, there was no
trace of ocean there. No trace
of vast, seaworn volcanoes
sending ripples up
and out,
only smooth rocks
perfect for touching, for learning
the names of, for grabbing onto their easy material
existence. No threat of deep undercurrents.
There are no riptides in New Mexico
anymore—it’s been
500 million years
since any
shallow sea
complicated the foundation, and centuries since
the last Apache chief put down his head
and his pipe one final time—no
there are only
desert tortoises
who survive by knowing when
to turn themselves into perfect shelter, their armory
my currency here, and coyotes who know
how to celebrate
a kill.
So when he grabbed
the easy material existence of me, it was like by a man
incapable of drowning, the dry desert air
to forget salt.
And I did not fear
for losing myself, I was too far from the Pacific
reflections in the road just mirages
you don’t have to worry about
and lovers only die of
I was full of eating sand, I had bloated
into a heavyweight version of myself, a contoured
container like sandbags for the dunes
made of wind—but separate and
packed tight
to keep
distant waves from pummeling
the face of the shore. I could not be swept away, and so
when the smooth polished stone of his body
skipped over me, finally
I did not feel
I was being
pulled under.