desert dweller

I’m sitting in the grass of a square-block park in Denver
it has no other features aside from the grass
and it’s the only time I’ve felt even slightly at ease
since leaving the highway
sometimes mountains can feel like buildings to me
and buildings can make me claustrophobic
but the desert fills me with relief
stark lines and big sky
openness as far as I need to see

I grew up outside Chicago
so I know how skylines and smog
can really take out a view
Chicago always made me queasy
and now Denver is making me nauseous
why would anyone want to live in a maze
they can’t see out of
walls made of chain stores and smoke shops
all designed to assure you that
yes
you’ve come this way before
so stop trying to leave
it’s all the same anyway
cities feel like a machine
and all of the pieces are always moving
but what does the machine actually do

I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to see the beauty of a city
because my eyes have always been drawn to the sky
and all buildings do is block her out
to make room for more moving pieces
mountains cramp her, too
they crowd my love
but mountains aren’t selfish like skyscrapers
they’re in love with the sky
though their relationship is tumultuous
they yell and she thunders
they whisper and she cries
but whenever they sleep
she always brings the pillows

my eyes have spent too much time
focused on the self-righteous
the proclaimed towers to the heavens
like they’re trying to reach
something better
but hurt is in their name: scrapers
trying to pull layers from my love
to take space she has always occupied

I’ll say sorry to the mountains someday
for confusing them with buildings
they are after all a friend of a friend
though I don’t get the dynamic
but my desert knows how to treat a girl
my sky
as much space as she needs
as much room as she wants
notice how rarely
she cries


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