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Wednesday, June 22, 2016


by G. Louis Heath

It’s very hot this June 22nd in Yuma. The a/c is
not enough. The sizzling heat stifles my breath
as I dare outside in bathing suit, to spritz my
succulents. My cactus in bloom suffers, too. I
move it into shadow, spritz it. It is a hard, hard
day on the desert when ribs of a barrel cactus
sag in distress.

A tour bus arrived from Vermont today to this
part of the national map that’s been recording
the highest temperatures in the nation. Weather
voyeurs! High temp tourists! Sheer ennui has driven
them out of a clime fit for habitation to these unending
vistas of panting lizards and rugged rock formations.
In their blazing, loud Bermuda shorts and blazing, loud
shirts and blouses, bulging like watermelons, these
invaders photograph the liquid digits aglow on the
sign atop the S and L downtown: 114 degrees! Agape!

For this they took a bus tour? What does this say about
the human condition? Could these same tourists visit
a mass grave of massacred campesinos, a record kill
in Nicaragua or Guatemala, or the killing fields of Cambodia,
with the same gee-whiz detachment? Our common history
says it’s possible. Photograph the sign. Photograph the bones.
Post the images on Facebook. All pixel offerings are savory in
the eyes of the God Facebook.

G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University. Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Dead Snakes, Verse-Virtual, Silver Birch Press, Poems & Poetry, and Squawkback.