Dust storms may exist,
warn yellow signs
on nowhere highways.
I grew up
in a dry land
with a dry heat.
Don’t talk to me
We had dirt storms,
spinning devils of earth.
We did not drown,
though we choked
on the soil that fed us.
every single one of us.
Grit got into everything,
in creases and cleavages,
in the cracks of chapped lips.
You forget that
all places get dusty.
You see it in a certain
light suddenly revealed,
and you stop
what you are doing
to remove it.
You dust to dust,
verb to eliminate noun.
I am reminded:
So much dust is skin shed,
our bodies flying above us
on the blades of ceiling fans.
I have no idea what to call you,
but in the picture you eat a cantaloupe.
You have your sleeves rolled up,
arms all brown and strong and work worn.
But first you crouch down and savor a bit
of melon, one you’ve picked from the field
and broken into bits on the ground.
Is it the end of your day?
Is it just the beginning?
The fruit is the brightest thing in the photo,
This melon that you have chosen,
all orange, semi-sweet pulp
inside a reticulated rind that holds
secrets while giving them away.
When you brought it up to your nose
and inhaled that knowledge,
became privy to a ripe confidence,
before you smashed its world
into the dirt, and bit into its flesh,
did you know the juice would drip
down those work-weary, sun-bit arms
and into your rolled-up shirtsleeves?
Or did you even notice?
Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell is a writer, educator, and caregiver living in Tucson, AZ. Originally from Texas, Lee Anne writes about memory, war, and mental illness. Her work is forthcoming in Sun Star Review, and she was a finalist in the 2016 Tucson Book Festival Literary Awards for nonfiction.