My name is Roy and out there I can see the end. I can see the end and it has a sound. It sounds like a pulse and it rattles the windows of this home.
My sister came down here in ‘99 and I followed her lead, afraid of being alone up there. Down here it’s warm and we didn’t need to pay for heat. Just a fire when we wanted. Just a flame to warm this home.
My sister left this world ten years ago and I’ve been alone since. I hear her voice and I see her face. Walking in the desert it comes to me like a bird song or a falling leaf.
Therefore I’m okay. Therefore I stay down here alone. Therefore I stay here all day.
I sit on my porch or in my kitchen and look out there. I go out and look for her. I dream.
I dream by day and by night. About everything. My name is Roy and out there I can see the end.
My dreams have a sound. They sound like a bird chirping to its friend or a tree rustling in the wind.
When we first came down here 20 years ago things were different. The land was greener and the streams wetter. Since she left we’ve been on due course to complete dryness. A wide deadening, everything in its tracks.
Her body was dry. On the horizon I saw her lying. I knew right away. I dropped to my knees and covered her in my tears. With each tear she became more alive. First her hands which I held and then her face.
It rains once a month. I can see the end out there and it has a sound. It sounds like the end of a storm. The pitter patter is slowing down on the roof of this home.
We bought this home from a woman whose number was in the newspaper. We paid in cash fast and got the keys. In darkness we moved our things in. A duffel bag for me and one for her. A Chinese lamp with painted poetry. A quaint few lines about mountains and streams, clouds and stars. A chest that fit perfectly in the trunk of her car. A chest full of letters and bills. Letters from Germany and China.
We sat on the porch on summer nights and spoke of distant friends and distant lands. Earlier we hiked up mountains and splashed through streams. We could conjure views on this porch. The desert became green and the valleys filled with moisture. With our words we remembered it all.
I was a swimmer in the night. The moon on my face, I dove off rocks and cliffs. I swim in my dreams and they sound like the breaths of fish past my face.
This morning I cut my hair, like I do on the third of every month. I lay the sheet down under my chair and place the mirror opposite. I commune with myself. We speak of our past and of the weather. We make deals for the future and blame each other for our mistakes. We share coffee and bread.
The first morning in this house I drove out and bought a gun. I was worried about wolves and coyotes, lone pack animals wandering up to us in the night, trying to crack us. Maybe they’d lost their way.
At night, on the porch, we’d read our letters in accents. With memories, we’d cry.
Once she left, they had to go too and every Sunday I’d burn a few more. At night time with embers flying skyward, I’d have a small fire in front of the porch. I can see the end out there and it sounds like paper aflame and the crackle of wood. It sounds like the steam of my piss on the coals.
In the mornings I talk. This morning too. I speak with friends over breakfast at diners and I speak with her on the porch.
This morning there was fog. It rolled in slowly and stayed long. This morning I read the letters that were left. There were only a few and I cried. I cried to letters from her. I cried to a letter from a friend in Germany. I cried to a letter from a friend in China. I cried to the wind and I cried to my face in my coffee. I cried to my cracking skin. I cried to the fog.