January 19, 1969

Freeways entering the emerald city
of Palm Desert are lined

by cheaper-by-the-ton factory outlets. Approaching Palm Springs,

my spouse pulls off on Box Spring Road
—it’s the CHP’s only known joke.

While he shops not for beds, I fill the tank with petrol, which doubles as

a life’s worth of Drano for matching
his/his sinks back home. No reason,

his side gets less clogged than mine, dayo, we’ll use the runoff to unclog

mayo-chocked coronaries.
Chest pain celebrating our illegal

first date’s anniversary at the Movie Star Colony Motel,

while my husband snoozes, I reminisce
in the parking lot’s dust bowl,

imagine all the strange things happening behind this strange town’s locked doors.

refusing to be human, mutating toward an Alice, I wonder

where’s the naivety I lost
at some anonymous roadhouse

followed on by the gamut of peculiar gaming and bunny farms.

Among Mickey Mouse-eared and cocky cactus,
putting on the Mazda’s

2015 sticker—next year I’m seventy.

We came in from the desert, we
will exit back out through the desert.

Gerard Sarnat is the author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections, 2010’s HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man and 2012’s Disputes. He has been published in over 70 journals and anthologies. Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s been a physician who’s set up and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, a CEO of health care organizations, and a Stanford professor. For The Huffington Post review of his work and more, visit GerardSarnat.com