Dry summer heat made my skin red,
in those three weeks I spent with you..
I wore that sunburn like a badge of pride
My whitewashed Tsalagi skin was warm for a while
with you.
Your hair flew in the desert breeze
deep brown and red flames against the backdrop of deep blue sky.

You laughed, at nothing,
a laugh of pure happiness and knowing this too
was something you may never forget
(I hope you don't).

What we must have looked like
two people overwhelmed with an earthly joy
at being free
flying through the desert
like those eagles we saw, flying above volcanic mountains.

It was so hot that day, I remember,
but I wore a sweater, still
to protect the tattoo I got
a panther with blue eyes.
I'd never seen anything so beautiful

the pale sun glowing through strands
of your flying hair
the sagebrush spotted across barren sand
and mountains in the distance
mountains that I swore

I swore the mountains were
like music, symphonies rising against the sky
and an eagle flew above the volcanic black
keeping pace with
our hearts, I think.

I remember you crawling
on the ground like you had suddenly become twelve again
half of your body in the branches of a bush
sand on your jeans, as you tried to catch
that one little lizard, that probably would have
made me jump, anyway.

I giggled, in my masculine way, and pulled you out
told you to stand
and we went searching for beauty in the rocks
(I secretly prayed that we would find that, and not a snake)
a white marble rock, or a deep amber
I placed a few in my pockets
like they could solidify my memories and
make them permanent.

I told you, standing against some boulder
staring up at the flat top of the mountains
watching over us like giants,
the white cross in the distance
(God's little reminder)
I told you
I never wanted to go back
never wanted any of it
to end.

I felt my longing like the summer heat
in which we stood, together
drawn like magnets
two shadows thrown across
the desert sand,
no space between my silhouette
and yours.

Nothing was ever so beautiful as the desert
and in the best three weeks of my life
we left traces of our joy in the sand.

Ly Hansen

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