I don’t understand it, this tinder
so difficult to quench
by the minute; cigarette flung

from car to brush
and I am overwhelmed

by the burning smell. The highway
like a long ache all scorched.

Nothing but the clean crack
of leaves, cacti, mountain lion at the door,

weather everyone north-faced adores
so I’m told. What else would you expect
from a possum rattling your garbage.

What else would you expect
from shades drawn, and the AC responds
to another call. A crow responds

with a single caw as if he knows
when night comes sprinklers
will flood the lawn. Still, I am here

strapped to my backyard
in my loused-up lawn chair
meant to be replaced, burn-out

barbecue, my umbrella drink
radiating like a coiled lightbulb.

William Archila is a Latino poet and writer. Born in Santa Ana, El Salvador,  Archila immigrated to the United States and eventually became an English teacher and he earned an MFA from the University of Oregon.

His first book of poems, The Art of Exile, was published by Bilingual Review Press in 2009. His manuscript The Gravedigger’s Archeology was selected by Orlando Ricardo Menes for the 2013 Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize. Archila’s poetry has appeared in AGNI, Blue Mesa Review, Crab Orchard Review, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, Poetry International, The Cortland Review, The Georgia Review, and The Los Angeles Review.