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They came with biblical regularity: 
first the grasshoppers. 
You can have fun 
with two or three of them 
but highways full mean 
no recess. 

When the sky cracked open 
we would stand under the flood 
and open our mouths, let 
the water run down the backs 
of our dresses, down our 
legs into our socks until 
the arroyos swelled 
and our mother threatened bodily harm. 

But when the Arizona desert 
flexed and turned itself to air 
its underside, 
we two-legged interlopers 
could only cringe in 
our four-walled sieve. 

We sealed the obvious: 
Doors, windows but 
the desert snaked through 
every ungagged orifice. 
Mailbox slot, chimneys, wall sockets, while we huddled together 
ensorcelled by sand, 
our mother outmoaning the storm 
through a dampened washcloth, 
"Goddamn this place, Goddamn this place!"

Marilyn Wallner

Marilyn Wallner is an unapologetic memoirist who uses a pre-World War II manual typewriter.

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