Dust falls on the horizon at the end
of the freeway. It runs like a lifeline
on the palm of this night. There are strip malls,
used car dealerships. We pull into a half-deserted parking
lot near Kmart in a ’88 blue Camry, my wife reaches
behind to unlock our daughter’s car seat, wind blows.
We run into Thai Garden, order vegetable green curry
with tofu, and Drunken Noodles to-go, walking out
we stroll past another young couple; they are holding cotton candy.
I think they are wearing alligator-skin boots. Further
down the street, there is a carnival. I climb
onto a horse next to my daughter, and the world rotates
away from my wife, who now stands with popcorn in her hands.
When she returns, my daughter’s eyes are lit up, sweet familiarity
of her dimples return, she leans, her soft hands on the horse’s ears.
The ride continues to turn, turning the evening. An old man squats
by a white and red ice chest, holds an American flag,
plays his banjo. A man parks a truck nearby with an animal cage hitched—
a tiger inside. A few more cars have pulled in, a small crowd gather.
The Royal Bengal tiger struts in his stripes, proud muscular shoulders,
smooth satin skinned he crouches behind iron bars, lowering eyelids
as if reducing his flame, then turns and looks at me.
I do not recall the rest of the evening, but that dust continued
to blow across the blacktop, and we had crossed an ocean.