Houston Dispatch

Shanhu Lee

A highway over another highway

Crossing like a braided bread.

Wild oak trees on the street covered 

By dust and ozone and nitrogen oxides.

Old white van sitting in the UH Law Center,

Dignified in the burning sunset.

Inside the van, the steamy temperature 98 F.

We installed two new AC units

And 12 box fans to recirculate stagnant air.

Scroll pumps cry aloud then stop,

Even stainless steel chambers cannot take the heat.

But we survived one week, then another week.

In God’s hands – we say every evening 

When we leave the trailer in the dark.

Heading to the America’s Best Value Inn,

A cheap motel near the Medical Center.

Here AC runs violently, feels like the Arctic.

Strangers shout and smoke and spat 

At the night in the parking outside our rooms.

Who knows who these people are,

Who knows why they stay with us 

In the middle of the insane September.

Two more weeks to go till we pack

Our things and head back to Huntsville.

Until then, we say: everything is 

In God’s hands. This God’s land.