In Phoenix summer is
the title, the refrain,
And every other verse.
In the empire of desert, water is the king and shadow is the queen.
~Mehmet Murat İldan (b.1965)
The heat. Everyone notices the heat first. It’s kind of hard to miss.
It gets into everything – the ground, the air, your bones, and your mind.
You’ll learn to survive – when to stay indoors, how to dress, how to function when the air hurts to breath.
Phoenix will teach you other things too. Slowly, but you’ll learn.
You’ll learn not to drink the water.
You’ll learn who to distrust.
You’ll learn the safe streets and the bad ones and the ones you definitely don’t want to be caught on at night.
Eventually, you’ll learn that no one is from Phoenix.
Eventually, you’ll learn that no one stays for long either.
Eventually, you’ll learn that sometimes they leave without a goodbye.
Maybe you’ll leave too, eventually.
Maybe you’ll stay.
Maybe you’ll get curious.
Maybe you’ll tear into the underbelly, into the things that don’t quite add up.
Into disappearing friends, into corrupt politicians, into the things that go bump in the night.
Maybe you’ll dig out Phoenix’s secrets, bring them into the sunlight.
Or maybe they’ll bury you.
Shallow graves in the desert aren’t so hard to find, after all.