United States

A Sweet Respite From The Heat

He tells her of the place where clouds are formed.
The cool dampness of his voice is rich.
Even on a dry June day
her face beads with wetness
as he talks directly to her.
Each aspirated sound a gentle burst of coolness.
“Tell me again, tell me again,” she teases.
If he knew she only wanted relief from the heat
and not the story, he would stop talking.
He begins, “The first time I saw the place
where clouds are formed was from
the window of a train . . .”
Another time was in a mirage
in the heat outside Tucson.
Once he thought he saw it
in the dry light of stars.
The place he remembers best
was when he saw it in the eyes
of a woman he spoke to.
When he first noticed it,
she hid it by lowering her gaze.

— Ofelia Zepeda
“The Place Where Clouds are Formed”
2008

Zepeda is a poet from the Tohono O’Odham Native American tribe whose home is on the borderland of Arizona and Mexico.

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