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nothing better than a new mexico sunset. #igersabq #newmexicotrue (at Bachechi Open Space)

nothing better than a new mexico sunset. #igersabq #newmexicotrue (at Bachechi Open Space)

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igersabq newmexicotrue

July 17, 2014

"Hottest Summer on Record" by Carrie Fountain

For Susannah

I’m thinking about the night 
we should’ve died

again: fifteen, in the backseat 
of an egg-shaped car

as those feral boys 
started yelling balls out

to the driver, who gripped 
the wheel and locked

his elbows and drove faster 
and faster until it felt

like there was nothing between us 
and the end

but the soft shoulder 
of the road, the constellations

of mosquitos over the ditch, 
the night reflected

in the still water there, murky 
with pesticides,

then less, just flesh 
on metal, metal on air,

then less, until it felt like 
we could die

of speed alone, evaporate, 
poof, sucked back into the holes

our insignificant histories 
had made in the earth

so that no one would ever 
find a trace of us, not a spot

of blood or a point of impact, 
no dust or smoke

or skid marks. Maybe then 
we’d never have existed

at all. Oh, how many 
times did I take my dumb life

in my hands and shove it 
down deep between

my thighs so no one would 
see it. And how many times

did I give it away, push it 
over, baring everything,

daring the night to take it 
away. Hard to tell

how many real deaths 
we escaped to make it

to tonight, talking 
on the phone while I sit

on the porch with the baby 
asleep in my arms

watching the dog chase the cat 
and then—surprise—they

switch, so that now the cat’s 
chasing the dog and oh

he’s gaining on her.


I love this poem by Carrie Fountain. She’s from Mesilla, NM, where I lived when I was grad school. I love it because I picture the events described here taking place somewhere on a back road in Doña Ana County on a night just like the many hot, buzzy, glorious nights I’ve had there, but also because it reminds me so much of myself a teenager and how I didn’t care, but did, so much. 

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July 16, 2014