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It's on nights like this
when she gets behind the wheel,
a blind rain falling
wiper blades cutting
through the past
that she wants to leave this place.

She wants to drive way
beyond the limits
of what she's come to know.
She takes the fork in the road
that points way
past the boundaries 
that hold her close
and bind her here.

She arrives at the outskirts of town.
There's a desert road
up ahead all prickly pears and dust.
A slight turn and
she's in the foothills.
This strange landscape
seems to know her name.

She stops at a shack 
by the side of the road
the one held together
with cactus and bones.
She steps inside.
"Has anyone died here recently?"
she asks.
"And are they still standing up?"
No one answers.
They just dance.

She leans over 
and picks up their rhythms.
Whirling in a trance
she begins to dance.
Flinging her head back
and twirling,
she taps out songs
that only she knows by heart.

Everyone stops to watch.

Trembling with passion and pain,
sadness and joy,
she forms streams of rose-gold,
purple and white,
that swirl 'round her feet
and creep up the walls 
like a painted sunset
on that desert cafe.

It's time to go.

She starts up the car
to take the high road home.
All alone.

Good thing she knows it's only
on nights like this.

Mary Mitchell Santiago

Mary Mitchell Santiago helps leaders grow as the "poet coach."

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