Soon I learn to decode their excited chatter:
the science project, the henhouse chronicles,
soccer, swimming, learning Arabic on Sundays,
the time she got sick, the time he fell off his bike,
their lives laid open with marvelous unreserve.
Then it’s show and tell: a trove of foreign coins,
batteries, marbles, paper clips in animal shapes,
a pair of dice, debris from a dismembered watch,
a pebble, a seashell, an odd piece from a puzzle,
a golden penny discovered in the grass.
Unfazed by the desert sun, they rush out to play
with the chickens and inspect the nest box for eggs.
Seemingly tireless, their small bodies, lean and lithe,
bound over flower beds and compost heaps, checked
only by the day’s gradual dissolution into dusk.
In the evening, they sit hunched over a jigsaw
puzzle, fitting piece after painstaking piece.
Contours emerge—the arm of a saguaro,
a flower-like ocotillo, an endless sandscape,
a sunset leaking its radiance across the sky.
If only this could always be. If only they could
never grow up, grow old, never to vanish
traceless into the eternity of sand and sun
that leaves nothing but the towering saguaro
reaching towards the fierce blue of a Sonoran sky.