Desert

by Abner Dormiendo

To love is to leave the ocean
for the desert. To tie your sadness
in a string and carry it like a pilgrimage.
To tie another around your fingers
to remind yourself of grief but to keep
on moving. To love is to be silent. To know
that silence is dry. To sift through
the sand in the tongue— know them
by name— and to look for the salt sitting
in the back of your lover’s throat.
To lay against the sun. To lay against
your lover’s arms, poised like
sand dunes against your body. To love
is to not be afraid of thirst. To sleep
beside the scorpions. To hold the rattlesnake
between your fingers and look for
the antidote in your lover’s eyes.
To cut a cactus in half, to remove
the spines patiently and eat its flesh.
To whisper in your lover’s ear: I am an oasis.
I am an oasis and I will never be empty.

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