My father and I bought a Taos condo together
and filled it with our life’s possessions. He laid his oak
boar-bristle hairbrush on the counter, his exercise band
and June issue of Reader’s Digest
beside the varnished drawer handle. I stacked my jeans
and laptop opposite, the blue lights of my computer
flashing on his glossed magazine. We shared nothing
but the view of dormant volcanoes,
and long nights of his mucous coughs and spit-up.
Each day we woke, I flapped the wrinkles out
of my jeans. He brushed his hair to a picture of himself
in the Navy fifty years ago, and exercised his aged biceps.
I sat with my computer off. At noon, we dozed on the porch
and bolted instant oatmeal from paper cups with plastic spoons.
We bobbed our heads in slight agreement that microwaved
water tasted of dull hums of the desert’s delicate drawl.
We thought the mountains would soon clear their throats
and eat their own peaks and with them, we would fall
asleep in the heat. Nights, we never hugged like tomorrow
might not come. I sometimes felt guilty for sleeping.
Then we died on the same windy day. The desert traipsed
through our windows to nap on our eyelids. We stepped
out of our curled bodies and blew the tired sand
off our skin. Our voices ground our stone lips
like glass-pack mufflers and cracked pumice. We stood,
the Taos busts of Pliny the Elder and the Younger, eyes
of fleshed marble. The unspoken father-and-son
I love yous hung in our lungs like swallowed teeth.
Adam Nunez is an MFA student and teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico. He writes to discover his family’s history as migrant farm workers. Adam’s work has appeared in Connecticut Review and LUMINA, and one of his poems took second place in The Atlantic’s 2009 Student Writing Contest.