In the past three years, my parents have grown old.
What age has scraped away from them, I can’t tell
until, driving back from the airport, my father’s foot
hammers on the gas. I watch my terror marble him.
My car, my rules, his voice a scorpion lashed in amber.
His face just the same as ever, only clearer, the way
a porch light hums and sheds its mantle of burnt moths.
When we get home, no one opens the door.
Once, as a child, I was taken to the rim of the Grand Canyon.
The heat gripped me like a collar on a dog’s neck.
I don’t remember how the sky looked then—only the gorge’s
dry red grinning, how it seemed to go on forever,
how my parents’ hands used to float like vultures, never landing,
how the canyon was wide as the shadow of their arms.
I’ve since learned the earth has a language for breaking:
exposure, upwelling, honeycomb, skin.
Younger, I might have called these instructions
for touching: you can do anything if you do it slow.
I inherit them the way stone does, unknowing
of what sleeps in a vein and what survives it.
When rock fractures beneath stress, this is called a fault.
I tend the crackling blossoms of my jaw,
I let the walls strip my knuckles into mouths.
I let them speak to me in my parents’ voices.
One day, there will be nothing left to weather.
I’ll open only for rivers; I’ll let the sun nest in my hair.