133 Fahrenheit just outside
My office window—people do live
Out there, and if they stay outside
Long enough, the over-heated fluid
Just under their skulls will kill them,
At the very best erase cells. People,
Born here, all have simmered
Frontal lobes, making them Desert
Zombies. The filmy look in their eyes is
Unmistakable. They’re not gentle
Zombies either especially when
They drive cars, usually Toyota
Land Cruisers zigzagging
In and out of traffic at double the
Speed limit, up onto sidewalks,
Running red lights, as Zombies will.
They didn’t turn themselves into Zombies.
So we can’t blame them, can we?
The sun did it. And just try to complain
To the sun, which will only pass the buck
To solar oblivion. Most of us who did not
Grow up here are not yet full
Desert Zombies. But we do feel
The sadness of heat. Few of us, save
For a few hydrologists, really want to
Be here. We’ve had to leave our
Homes behind because we either
Fought for evil or fought for the greater good.
Desert Zombies don’t care which.
Either way we’re no longer wanted
Back home. Some of us are so sad, we
Hide in our thickly curtained apartments
As if in a dark, air conditioned space pod
Flinging through a solar flare. And we think
About home. We think about leaving family
Behind, a cozy winter next to a fireplace
And without a giant war in the next
Country over. “Why,” I wonder, “did I help
All those people back home,” most of whom
Never email, anymore. “Why did I even care?”
I know what the sun would say. You have two
Choices: You can stay here and burn.
Or you can go back home and burn.