By D.S. Waldman

I don’t make any sense in the high desert. Prayers going out
like prayers into a sky too big to answer. Language, as usual,
falls short. Every wound a neighborhood with no street signs,
every street ending with death in mind. But that’s the game.
Thin moon and silence. Wind around a cactus. I walk
to higher ground, call again my brother’s phone and hear,
however many times it takes, that the number’s been disconnected.
I hear over and over, in that pale unwounded voice, the word twilight,
but know she means dusk, but know she means what does not
change / is the will to change, and walk back down the hill,
forgetting why I’d climbed it. Tomorrow I’ll drive into the near
mountains, hike to where streaks of water and ice trail from clouds,
evaporate before reaching the ground. But now it’s tomorrow
and I didn’t go. Drank too much coffee and cried a little.
Thumbed through a magazine with captioned diagrams that
explained the phenomenon. I lay down for a while and dreamt
I saw it. Woke into a dream, a landscape of disputed etymologies,
words falling but failing to mediate fully between history
and the dryness of my tongue. Page after page, hundreds of them,
blank in a book I’ve been expelled from. I want to say something
no one will remember. I want to make a fire in the distance
                                                                        and walk away.

“Virga” was originally published in The Georgia Review, spring 2022.