The Desert

In 1948 only one baby was born in the state of New Mexico, a boy named Samuel. Sadly, he was born several months premature, and lived for only a few hours. When the Santa Fe Times ran an article on the lack of births, hundreds of New Mexicans wrote in to explain why they had not reproduced during the previous year. Their reasons ranged from coyotes to financial difficulties, and more than a dozen cited the Great Unpleasantness of June. But by far the most frequently given answer was a variation of what one respondent described as the way I seem to drift off in the afternoons and spend what feels like months standing in my doorway, staring out at absolutely nothing but the color red.

Matthew Mahaney is the author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (BatCat Press, 2013). Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Barn Owl Review, The Journal, Hobart, Mid-American Review, Paper Darts, Salt Hill, and Sixth Finch.