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[personal profile] megwrites
I dug up an old poem that I wrote a while back, and I'd figured I'd share. Because what good is a livejournal if you can't torture your f-list with horrible old poems?



"The Desert Has Teeth"
By: Meg Freeman


So.
Once I went out to the desert
far, far out west. Almost
to the ocean if you keep driving.
And there was a man in a trailer
who was a gatekeeper
to the place where answers lived
He had skin like worn leather
and a toothless smile
He'd been ridden hard and
put away wet every
single night of his life, I could
tell. I can see these things.

So.
He invited me in and he had
hot tea all ready. How anyone
can drink hot tea in the desert
is beyond me. I'm a girl of
the rainy places, myself. I live
with a half-year of drizzle and a
half-month of sun in the winter.

So.
There's this thing, tastes worse
than the worst medicine you
ever took as a child
it comes from some kind of cactus
and I will tell you this:
never take it on a full stomach
or an empty soul
You won't like what happens to you.
But he leather man gave me one
warning and one warning only.
He said, "This will either show
you heaven or hell. Nothing else."

So.
I was a sick thing sweating and dry
heaving
on the bed like death throes
and there was reality and not-reality
and not-reality tore the door
off the plane of reality and did
not give me a choice of whether I
wanted to go outside
It snatched me up by the scruff
like some stray thing
and threw me out of reality
and said "get!"
like some mad old house frau
with a broom and a bad disposition

So.
I saw the desert for what it was.
It was a monster with a mouth of sand
and I saw its teeth. Big jagged
teeth made of red, red rock, the mouth of a meth user
and the dawn was rolling off its tongue
and it had swallowed me entire, whole
down with the sand I went
down down and it spit up the sun
and swallowed
down when the day was over
But damn, it was the teeth that were the
worst I'll never forget the teeth
fifty of them, broken
at bad angles
it hurt my own mouth just to look.

So.
Hours later I was back on the bed
and leather-man was laughing
down at me, I bet he had a good old time
watching me there like that
and somebody should warn you
about what the desert is like at night
or that it is entirely possible
to shiver from the cold even
that far out west.

So.
He brought me hot tea and I understood
exactly why he had it around.
And he asked me what I saw
and I said, "I saw hell."
He laughed some more and he shook
his head and he coughed
up a little bit of blood and
he still laughed and spit it on
the dirty wood floor
and he said, "I took a peak
inside your head while you were
out there in the desert. And
it didn't show you hell. Oh, no.
It showed you heaven."

So.
I asked him, "If it was heaven
why was it so hard?"
And he laughed a little
more and he said, "You
should go now, little white girl.
Go back to the shade. The desert
will burn you alive if you stay."
And I kept on, "If that was
heaven, why did it hurt?"
And he just shrugged,
and smiled, lips parting
to show the smooth shiny
pink of his gums, "What's
heaven supposed to look like
to someone who doesn't know it
when they see it? Maybe if you
don't know what heaven looks like
there's no heaven at all."
So I asked, "Would that mean there's no
hell?"
He just laughed and laughed
and didn't say anything else.

So.
Then he gave me more hot tea
and a blanket
and I drove away
through the flat flat
desert, checking my teeth
to see if any of them had
broken or cracked -
I did that all the way home.

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