before the temperature reaches triple digits

as i meander through
the side streets on my bike
this morning,

i am forced to face this place
i have reluctantly called home

i notice easily all the blooms along
brightly painted garage walls and
from sidewalk cracks,
oleander and desert willow
sunflower and nopal

the viejitos sit outside under the
shade of a fruit tree, tending to their
shrines of the Virgin Mary

caged up, boxed up little casitas,
exposed adobe bricks melting into
the earth

harsh sunlight warms me as i
peddle down mesquite,
tornillo,
manzanita

i recognize this place, know
which way is north to colorado
and south to the border
where the rio winds through
the orchards and even
how to climb to the highest peak
of the organs

one year here, and though as
reluctantly i have called it home,
i can feel the chihuahuan desert sand
settling in my heart

-A

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