Copyright Lee Ann Mortensen 2002




The desert is cool at night, lit by a
heavy yellow moon and by my headlights
pointing at the black road, a dark cut
through salty Utah flats, a boiling path for
hesitant, flicking snakes. I'm in my car,

pushing through the thin, dry air
I was born in thirty years ago,
in a hospital, in Phoenix,
to a tall woman with dark hair,
who I never met, who was never my mother.

As I drive, I imagine her outside
convenience stores in Tortilla Flats,
speaking broken Spanish to the Mexicans
who could have been my father,
but never were.

I see her eyes, my eyes, green
and yellow and brown like the curving
desert she left me in,
unfocused, sweating, wondering
if I can laugh like she laughs,
or if I can kiss all the winking Latinos
like she does
and make them think they feel love.