for Richard Brautigan

The sun rises above the steep cliffs
staring down with an intensity usually reserved
for stern judges or bullshit salesmen
but the desert doesn't care about
past transgressions or future desires
its only responsibility is to the hares
scattering through dry brown shrubs
over hard-packed sands and the
tiny grey lizards leaving tiny dark prints
around our sleeping bags.

We wake from a short sweaty daze
scattering for refuge in cool  dark
womb-like caves hidden within steep mud peaks
and lay where trickling streams once traveled
gathering bits of dirt and rock as souvenirs
while sticky sweat dries in a thin film on our skin
and beyond the tunnel's threshold
skies shimmer and dance in a lazy forgetful haze.

Later we climb to the top of the hills
as the sun turned pink and heavy
sinking into rocks like fossilized cocks, remains of
ancient mysterious mountain mating habits and
saw a thousand feet below us our cars and tents which
might have belonged instead to packs of roaming lizards who
like us and the pieces of rock or shells
discovered you can't go home again.

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