Relentless heat, dry wind
scratchy sounds.

I walk in the shade like a dog.

Behind me, panting flesh
matches my own plodding thuds.

He runs by in a sweaty, cascading jumble of tanned fat and bone
tangible human-ess luring skulking cougars
lounging high above
carefully resting on thick dehydrated branches
bereft in their twists
like a dying old woman
arms outstretched
reaching for her past: a supple time of juicy ignorance.

The hollowed knots in bark are screaming mouths
horrified at
our living.

Dusty path.
Rattlesnakes crackle lazily.
Dirty air.
Cicadas hum an electrical soothing racket.

My thighs half flaccid in their existence
propel me forward
through this carved out trail,