Haibun #2, Driving Home, May 2015
We have been two weeks in Moab. Hikes between thunderstorms, visits with friends, a conference with
the real estate pimp. Her words, not mine. I take photos of derelict Volkswagens, cactus buds and
blooms, the green stigma antenna to their hearts. My husband weeds the grass, his nemeses the same
here as at home: dandelion and black medic.
cumulus, juniper, rock.
“Razors” and souped-up American rigs accelerate out of the four-way stop, in the four cardinal
directions. This is Utah, after all, a paean for the numbered grid of streets. We pause in our talk on the deck.
The screws have worked themselves loose from the untreated boards. A pair of black-chinned
hummingbirds probe the honeysuckle vine on the tall fence.
Ditched orange debris bags.
Dead raccoon and smashed up deer
magpies pick over.
I-15. The painted white and yellow lines dash by. The miles look the same, and then they don’t.
I monitor small differences, the crumbs of change: graffiti painted over, that rusted piece of farm
equipment sunk deeper into ruin, a cottonwood bulldozed out of the way. The odometer proves we are
moving. Past this year’s bedded-down calves, the circles of pivot-irrigated land, RVs hooked up row
upon row by a reservoir, a still-life of small fishing boats. The hum of our engine and fans circulating
the air, our breath, all that we hear.
Eight white pelicans
cast high and east between storms.
Grain elevators glint.
Route 30 to Lava Hot Springs. Waterslides, a snapshot of what used to be river. A squall through
cottonwood leaves the air snowy for a couple hundred yards. Solstice is less than a month off now,
winter a memory and a forecast, one and the same. Grace Seed Company and a semi-truck size pile of
discarded tires. They come, they go. An arrow points south to a golf course on flatland between
the rumps of mountains and the shoulders of black lava. Hard not to wonder about the road.
The half-gone barn roof
crumples over horseless stalls.
An invisible meadowlark pierces the closed windows with insistence, with song. A cell tower bristles
with messages and signals. One, then the other of us, checks a smartphone, ponders the one bar and
then its absence. What was it we wanted to know? Shadows from clouds leave jigsaw puzzle pieces on
the hills. Fast and narrow Tincup Creek runs toward the Salt River. A tall thin black bird stands, still on
the far bank, an out of place eye-catcher, but the guidebook indicates cormorant, a rarity for my life list.
The Freedom Arms warehouse takes to a low spot, with its claim to the largest, with its stock of
The fat lady walks
a small brown dog. Leash puller.