Holy Southwestern Eternity, painted red

Where as kids we split two hemispheres. A river

Through the canyons, and to our left:

The cold banks of the beginning (before our birth,

Our names not yet spit into speech).

On the other side sprawls a desert

Spread like butter on the earth

where we will walk

Until our knees twist heavy and our throats choke dry.

Somewhere in between

Wash waters of the canyon center.

Where children speak freely and bleed and scab and sing.

And once with my brother, I stumbled through forests on fallen trees.

I twisted ankles on stumpy roots. Life spills like dandelion weeds

Laying pretty bodies of growth over the ground. White flowers.

Here my heart beats always, quickly. Light sinks beside my bones,

A childhood, waters run almost dry.

Now we must move ourselves towards

The sun, our limbs no longer caught in current.

Now my friend holds cigarettes to her

Lips– false red embers not of this earth. And I smear

Red blossoms of blush on my cheeks

Where does the river end? When do I cross?

I am like the stars in this desert, drifting.

I force myself toward one river until I recede,

Like the creek-tide slinking back through rocks.

– Alex Surprenant

Born and raised in California, I am an avid surfer and lover of the outdoors. Since a young child, I have been a writer, constantly inspired by the world around me– particularly the ocean. I work as an editor on my high school art magazine, Dark as Day. Additionally, I advocate for reducing plastics and fighting climate change as the president of an environmental club.