genesis: Spring, 2007

genesis -- Spring, 2007

Literature and Art of Indiana University — Purdue University of Indianapolis: Volume 39, Issue 1. Cover Art: “Pete” by Benjamin Joseph Garza

Nevada Gray Matter

At once, capturing this range holds sway
over my senses—my preoccupation, so
I might (soaring above) transform the black-pined, snow-
sloped mountains. Stone vertebrae giving way

to the adobe dust of Nevada. Here (just West
of Vegas) Joshua Trees are scorched; their branches
torched as a methodic precaution; no chances,
hence the practice of controlled burns—lest

the precious flora be wiped away outright.
The fear emanates from, let’s say, the synaptic spark
of a lightning strike—the initiate lick to bark
transfigures the brittle boughs into dendrite

limbs; naïve trees now black capillaries spread
like rivulets of spilled ink against the red
rock backdrop. We too summon similar defenses—
pyromanic machinations to save or make sense

of our own memory remnants (if you can stand it). The man at
the helm sails over the canyon—announces our descent, while I
try to capture a synaptic scrap; gray fissures and folds of my
cortex twisting, turning into thirsty gullies, into granite.