The pinion over there survived last year’s wildfire. The other trees over there burned. They looked like me when I am pissed off and pulling my red hair, and they looked like the cherry on my love’s joint right now, inhaling, exhaling, flicking ash into his cupped palm. My love’s name is Joseph. He is smiling, staring at the sand beneath our feet in the arroyo right now. I stare at him and squeeze my hands until the knuckles whiten.
My love Joseph is sheriff of this godforsaken town we live in, and I hate to see him high.
“Joseph,” I say. “Please don’t do it anymore.”
And he listens and looks at me, eyes flashing like a lightning bug as he reaches into his pocket for the diamond ring I know he stole from the pawn shop at gun point.
“Mary,” he says. “Marry me you bitch.”
Oh, how I do love a romantic man with a good vocabulary. I smile and can’t help but say, “Joseph, darling, I do.”
He only stares at me like a fiery brand ready for action. He inhales, puffing, hugging the joint with his lips, and now rubbing his thumb in his palm, he takes the ash and wipes a cross on my forehead, then he spits the joint into the dry dead brush right here by our feet to start a wildfire like he did last year. The fire that the pinion over there survived.
“Joseph,” I say. “Say a prayer. We might not live another day, but don't you worry, mama is coming home.”
What He Doesn't Know
Every morning my husband looks towards the sky from
His knees while I shuffle my tarot cards with my cup of
Coffee, crossbones and angels, every morning, my husband
Prays every morning and I look at the future with x-ray vision,
Flashlights and scented candles, he says he loves me every
Morning, my husband does, a lock and a skeleton key, but I am
Always the one that lifts the crystal ball, tick tock, always—
The basketball sized crystal ball my husband gave me for
Christmas after delivering his midnight mass,
Vinegar on vanilla ice cream—
I always squeeze the crystal ball as hard as I can,
Two folded hands, vices of faith, I always squeeze until it fits
In my palm, track marks, life lines, the crystal ball
Becomes the size of a marble, steering wheels, the marble,
A prayer, that weighs 72.789 pounds, landing gears, the 72.789
Pound marble my husband always carries into the laundry
Room, thank you, to be placed in the washing machine
a daily polish, always helping me, loving me, carrying the 72.789
Pound marble softly, distantly, fearfully, like a lie
My husband carries the marble into the laundry room
Where the Shroud of Turin spreads, covering the ironing board
Waiting to wrap the marble and be placed in the washing machine—
Change sounds like shattering glass:
For the first time
The marble rolls off
And lands on the floor, exploding, thousands
Of shards become rose petals, black and white,
Pieces of faith
David Murchison has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona and an MA in Counseling Psychology from St. Mary's College of California. He is a recovering alcoholic, a dog lover, an active athlete, a student. His in-progress manuscript of poetry and prose is entitled On The Rocks... Shaken Not Stirred.