Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“December Light in Arizona”

Melissa Cundieff-Pexa received her M.F.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2012 and lives now in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and two small children. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Mid-American, Gargoyle, Fairy Tale Review, and The Collagist, among others. She will begin Ph.D. studies in creative writing in fall 2014.

December Light in Arizona

We were in the cemetery again,
a fever rising in us like some bright
horizon. The headstone names around us
fooled you into thinking we weren’t so
dangerously alone, filling ourselves
with red wine and the cruel, heavy sound
of truck horns. I said the highway looked
like bone, an arm outstretched
forever across the dust. Our eyes burned
from looking. The dark nooks of our ears filled
with birdsong, then silence, then, remember?
You fell into one of those empty graves
and almost broke with your perfect body
the sky’s horrendous, vacant mirror.