Scraping the flesh from a coconut with a straw.
The translucent taste shook with the subtle crunch, the unsatisfied whines, the bump in the road.
Echoing in the hollowness, there’s not enough to spill past the brim, but it’s still there sloshing around.
White flesh seems sand-colored but I know it’s white because it’s supposed to be.
Color seeps into the jeep, already filtered into the sky.
Worked into my retinas, stamping them. Don’t trust the imitators that lie between the hills.
So far removed, they lifted us up, have taken us away, moving backward, the past in the present.
Continued scraping, the amusement in being wrong every time, the reward in sitting mindlessly.
Mind unable to catch up in the chase, knowing it would catch up eventually when there is more than just asphalt like a reel of film rolling and rolling in an empty theatre.
Passing the not-quite withered, not-quite alive ghaf tree that stands its ground alone, my father speaks its name to hear it roll off his tongue.
How long had that been sloshing around in its shell.
A decision: to turn and make sense of eyes the shape of aviator shades, or to the tinted window from which the tree had already escaped.
Tired of scraping, I hum instead.
Words that never marry a response transform into ghosts and there were enough.
At the phantom farm, the gate needed to be reminded that it was not a wall.
It creaked painfully, but that’s my opinion.
If only the sand could fill the cracks, instead it populates every surface in sight and my father sits outside.
“No one left,” he says, as if all worth is lost.
We are the same, he forgets.
Artwork by Alexandra Levasseur