i was born in those dry days,
those dust-crunching dead days;
the age of famine and
hell-blue sky—

my throat, parched as pavement
my tongue, a straight-razor
my soul, mean as murder,
until i turned

into shifting winds,
baptized in a gathering storm
that drew clouds, like curtains,
over arid eyes
and spilt rain on my lips.
nourished and nurtured,
i embraced the flood
and learned to swim.

but on those nights i cannot write,
my mind, it shrinks and hardens
to jagged stone
a clenched fist,
and i make the
reluctant journey home
to the desert
in my skull.

This poem originally appeared in the 2009 collection Sixty-Six.