Your mother made you a nightgown
out of the least worn parts of the
cotton sheets she slept on.
You were just a dream then,
so it’s okay if you don’t remember.
(But do you?)
Years ripped their teeth into
the careful seams her hands stitched
and it came apart in threads
(and your mother, she died, didn’t she?)
carried away by the wind,
to be as coated in dust as suburban
pets gone feral and lost to the wilderness.
Now you spend days
naked in the sun lifting rock
after cooked rock
and pricking your fingers
on cactus needles.
Eating scorpions for their
nourishment and quick, sharp sting.
Trying to collect and weave back
together strips of your mother’s
sheets, a safe place to sleep.
Only to uproot sand, steaming
in your palms, and shards of glass
I, too, have peeled
my fingerprints off
on those stones.
Burnt skin and lost nails
in those cracks.
I know that desert.
Couri Johnson is a student of the NeoMFA, current head editor of the online lit mag Jenny, and aspiring weird horse girl. She likes to sleep curled into balls and takes a lot of naps. She was previously published in Decades Review, Poppy Road Review, and Aphelion.