Dear Empire [these are your salt flats]
These are your salt flats. They lie past the highways, past the towns with gas stations whose names sear the eye in mono-syllable and neon. Here, there is nothing except the line of the horizon and the slight curve of the earth. Tire tracks carve endless signatures, and if you imagined it, you could dream they were the tracks of giant serpents winding towards the barely visible lights of civilization in the nighttime.
Some mornings, the ocean’s cooling breezes meet the heat from off the ground creating more winds. The tracks disappear so that it you can easily get lost. There are no animals here. There are no sounds save the sweep of wind or an occasional engine sputtering through dust. The inhospitably is, however, its charm. It is, sometimes, good to be in the place of an erasure.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of three books of poetry: Names Above Houses, a winner of the 2000 Crab Orchard Award Series for Poetry, Furious Lullaby, and Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the 2010 U. of Akron Prize for Poetry. He is the co-editor of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry and a founding member of Kundiman.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Asian American poetry. He is the recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Artists' Trust, and he teaches creative writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.