Carolyn Orosz

Good Pain

It is something out of a children's book—

Little City of Rocks at the back of flat-top butte,
a bush-plane flat-red against the sky. We stand to wave,
its wing-tilt wave back unreal.

It is heavy here.
They say it's wilderness,
but I'm like yeah, right, this wasteland?
Where are the mountains, where are the alpine lakes
spewing glacial runoff through the watershed?

Now to sugar-coat things. Now to be like you are so smart you are so funny
you rock at basketball. You are persuasive.

666 on the gas gauge.
666 in the poker game.

Living in that haunted valley, running through the mud
back to the dome of light. The sage silvery with frost, the sound of pigeons
cooing amongst the hoodoos.

How the desert teaches us.
How we are the worst because of difficulty.

What is left of me? Whistled into the void
that long echo—low, rheumy. nothing, nothing.

Every night the sagebrush takes the shape
of animals moving closer.

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