"china texas" by isaura ren
crowbar trail mix batteries flashlight.
water, water everywhere—you know the rest.
for some godforsaken reason, or perhaps none at all,
it's 90 fucking degrees. (fahrenheit.
this is america, after all.)
the air is still, save for static
between our bodies. strands of hair
bridge the gap, cling together. the ends tangle.
billboard evangelists beam down
benignly from their roosts,
smiles weathered, worn.
the heavens have opened and shut.
their deluge was rapturous, so naturally
we were left behind.
car engine cicadas pop radio.
here, at priceline 103
beside our lady of sorrows,
we sit in your sedan and pray for deliverance.
(the national guard turned us back
like we have somewhere else to go,
two college queers with ten bucks total.)
here, you tell me your parents are stuck,
water halfway up their driveway,
road an unnavigable river.
we're worse off, i don't say.
"isn't that awful," i say instead, pressing on the wound,
preoccupied with pain other than my own.
for once, you don't cry. you don't even answer.
(it wasn't a question anyway.)
here, i am alive, vibrating with
anger fear agitation hostility boredom,
and i don't look at you but i hope you are too.
we're seconds from either killing or
kissing each other. i can't decide
which would be worse.
i'm ready for an end, one way or another.
floodwaters ebb, but
dams can't hold forever.
we don't know much yet--
we haven't even had real girlfriends.
we're majoring in language left unspoken,
and from it, we divine two truths:
something will give.
it will be us.