El Paso, my surprising home, is bisected
into east and west sides by the Franklin Mountains,
and bound on the south by the Rio Grande,
nestled in the pocket created by Texas,
Mexico, and New Mexico’s intersecting borders.
Spring’s relentless winds create walls of brown
clouds that spill over the peaks of the mountains
in waves of oncoming ocher dust that infiltrate
each crack and crevice of our home, lining
windowsills in brown, clinging lines reminiscent
in miniature of depression times, grit that was
pervasive and choking, people never fully feeling clean.
Summer’s rainy season tamps down the dust,
white rain clouds approaching the east side
of the mountains and coalescing in wet mounds
that mimic the spines of cacti-covered peaks, at last
spilling in abandon over the mountain’s west side.
Gray rains pound the impacted desert soil in a visibly
creeping wall, our coming year’s welfare dictated
by impassive, breaking, mountains of clouds.