It is a luxury to pray to the goddess,
dress her with many names and myths,
sequined chains and gold bracelets,
or nothing at all. Young men beg
to be noticed on this semi-arid fringe
of habitation, and some go native
to explore the primitive pulse
in their blood, chant and dance until
exhausted to their knees. They learn
to leave themselves behind in the dust
of December that invades their dreams,
to ethereally escape the hazy delirium
trapped in the bottom of the San Joaquin.
Here we age and cure with each shallow breath,
inhale the earth until our dry skin cracks
like clay flats, like a pomegranate ripening.
It is a luxury to pray, or to reawaken
the forgetful old woman in charge of things.