Death Valley
is not the biblical Valley of Death.

The Valley of Bones
is a place paleontologists work

excavating dinosaurs—
not the twenty-seventeen adventure movie.

Death dressed in flesh
walked all three

thumbing for a ride in a car
with air conditioning.

The air conditioning immediately broke
in every car Death entered.

If you (on your own)
manage to cross the alkaline ground

you have proved
to be worth your salt

since your parched lips
and skin will be crusted in its dust.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney