You awaken me with a cup of warm coffee,
the kind you know I like best, no caffeine, but hot
like the sun as it bakes the hood of our car stranded
in a desert of dusty wildflowers and
Saguaro cactus, prickly and laden with white blooms.
Our makeshift shade relieves me of burnt skin too painful
to touch, accepting only of your lips upon my shoulder,
a sign of peace. Night still lingers in the dry morning, the stench
of leftover lovemaking and Tequila pools in the bottom
of my glass and my throat, uninterrupted.
Coffee now the center of attention, my hands grasp
the yellow paper cup, fearful that I will fail once again. And so
I wait for life to cool down. Your eyes upon my breasts speak
in a tongue I no longer understand. I listen to your countless
explanations. I want to believe you.
You laugh at my faded veil. Red cheeks signify more than sunrise or
rouge hastily smeared, my dear. Keep talking if it steadies your mind,
even words that stab at my heart. A night in the desert was not my idea.
Nor was a dirty tent too old for safe assembly. Or a sandy campfire.
For anyone watching, this honeymoon has an expiration date.
—Victoria Emmons, ©2018