Paul takes the term locked and loaded,
applies to his state of stubbornness and inebriation,
looks down the barrel of another beer can,
digs in the desert soil with bare hands
and replants a prickly pear his bare foot knocked over.
There is a cage called his apartment.
Lori disassembled all her illusory barricades,
then mined the sofa for change
to pay tolls on the road out of Paul’s life.
She left no note.
Paul watches a roadrunner size him up
as if it could swallow him whole
or at least peck out his shriveled liver.
He bleeds dots where he removes
spines from his calloused foot.
Lori’s hand bag is full of Paul’s gun metal blues
bullets, bullshit and a turtle rattle.
She intends to pawn these toward her escape.
She presses her tongue against a molar
tastes the last minty swish.
Paul limps back to his car.
The trailhead lot keeps his car stationary
and sand drifts like snow around the tires.
The wind blows a heavy chill laden with grit,
blasts blurry what should be transparent.
copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney