I failed so miserably at being adult.
I couldn't sustain interest.
It wasn't in me.

Jim Bodeen
1 May 2010



He comes down the alley after
aluminum cans in garbage dumpsters
riding a bicycle. ¿Tiene trabajo
en su jardín para mi? he asks

as I walk to meet him with my rake,
in overalls y mi sombrero hecho a mano
de palma en Sahuayo, Michoacán.
He knows the hat as ally

and talks direct. In a few hours
I'm gone for 11 days. Venga
el 29 de abril, I say, and that's the day
he shows up to work, the day

we return from Arizona. We felt
protected from the law in Grand Canyon,
kind of like we had shadow guides,
and leaving the parks we were looking

for smoke, and covered in music.
I didn't feel full toxic presence
until we drove into our driveway
and heard the news, Boycott Arizona.

Had I just come back?
Or had I just arrived?
When questions surface
they don't come with protection.

This garden offers to listen.
Old roses wounded Rilke
sacrificing him. Sanctuary is here
where we're blessed for digging in.

I pay Jesús by the hour.
No benefits beyond iced tea and water.
I sign a contract with myself
reaching for new lows.

                 —29 April 2010

Karen hollers to me
in the garden, we have to go,
another field trip,
our daughter's kinder class.
Paseo's the word for field trip.
Appleby’s—donde vamos a comer—
y ver la cocina, Petco, y el parque
para correr. Leaving Jesús
in midsentence, él me dijo,
No se preocuparse. Entiendo el trabajo.
This is my rich life, walking with Karen,
walking with children, watching
these two bilingual daughters—
invitations to wonder, spending
this morning with 25 monolingual
Spanish speaking kindergartners.
Entering the classroom I sit
at the small table and pick up
a book about zorillos. It is so good.
A zorillo is a skunk, and like
I didn't know the word paseo
thinking it too exotic to be field trip
I didn't know the word for skunk.
It so happens I have a skunk in my life
and can't call him by name.
I've been redeemed after watching
this zorillo snake around my life.
Karen catches me smiling
and thinks I'm recovering my balance.
I'm reading a children's book in Spanish.
This is geology of personal life
in a receding ice field.
Jesús, kinder, zorillos, Arizona.
We get crayons at the restaurant
and order from the menu.
At Petco kids get hamsters
and my daughter gives me
bathroom duty. Girls and boys.
Trouble turning on faucets.
There's a grillo on the floor
in the boy's room. Teachers do this
every day after lunch.
Lining up for pictures before we leave,
28 of us saying Queso in unison,
singing the word. The man dressed in camoflauge
shakes his head in disgust reminding us
that we are in Arizona,
that our town is a dangerous place.


Walking through Jesús’ work
at the end of the day, a young man
hollers, Disculpame, Señor.
Mi esposa y yo necesitamos ayuda.
No hay petroleo en mi carro.
Nuestro bebé está llorando.
The plastic gas can for the lawnmower
will get him to a gas station
but there's not enough gas
to get anybody out of Arizona.

Jim Bodeen
29 April—30 April 2010
Yakima, Arizona


When seas evaporate
they leave behind salt beds
and salt under pressure
is not stable. Salt shifts,
buckles, liquifies--salt
changes positions.
Thirsty rock
layers upwards emptying.

Jim Bodeen
20 April—28 April, 2010
Colorado Plateau—Yakima

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