The Aeryon R80D Skyraider

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Bobs against waves
of heat that emanate
from pavement. The SUA
finds a rattlesnake and scans

its face for recognition. Audio
of a rock falling, radar of a rock
falling, seismic footage of a rock
falling, acoustic vibrations

of a rock falling, magnetic
gauss of a rock falling—
here even the rocks
must show documents that they are

matter. The sheep are atoms
that drift across a screen
to an agent in a concrete room
in a city far away. The agent

and his Skyraider work to vacate
the land. The agent says:
This is the way it’s supposed to be.
I work to make it the way it once was.

The desert has never been
as the agent imagines it. Each day
the agent works to make the desert
an absence the size of an ocean.

The desert held the ocean once
and will hold it again:
The way it’s supposed to be,
the way it once was.

Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima::Limón and The Verging Cities. She teaches at the University of South Florida.
Originally published:
December 1, 2021

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